The Defence Acquisition Council cleared the Indian Air Force's Su-30MKI fighter aircraft upgrade program

The decision to acquire 97 TEJAS fighters, 156 LCH Prachand choppers and upgrade 84 Su-30MKI jets will boost India's air defence prowess. The significant move will add strength to India's defence amid multi-layered challenges to the nation's security in the wake of a rapidly changing geopolitical equation.

"The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), under the chairmanship of Defence Minister on November 30, 2023, accorded approval in respect of Acceptance of Necessity (AoNs) for various Capital Acquisition Proposals amounting to Rs 2.23 lakh crore, of which, acquisition worth Rs 2.20 lakh crore (98% of total AoN amount) will be sourced from domestic industries. This will give a substantial boost to the Indian Defence Industry towards the aim of achieving the goal of ‘Atmanirbharta’" a statement released by the Defence Ministry read.

The council granted the Acceptance of Necessity for 97 additional TEJAS MK-1A and 156 Prachand Light Combat Helicopters. The total budget is overall cost Rs. 1.10 lakh crore.

"Today, the Defence Ministry has cleared the proposal for the acquisition of 97 TEJAS MK-1A fighter jets for the Indian Air Force at a cost of around Rs 65,000 crores. Proposal for buying 156 LCH Prachand choppers have also been approved by the Defence Acquisition Council along with the upgrade plan of 84 Su-30MKI fighters has also been cleared: these proposals are worth Rs 1.6 lakh crore and are indigenous projects," the Defence officials said.

"The DAC has accorded the AoN for procurement of two types of Anti-tank Munitions namely, Area Denial Munition (ADM) Type - 2 and Type-3, which are capable of neutralising Tanks and Armoured personnel carriers and enemy personnel. To replace the Indian Field Gun (IFG), which has completed its service life, AoN for procurement of state-of-the-art Towed Gun System (TGS) has been granted which will become a mainstay of Artillery forces of Indian Army. The AoN was also accorded for 155 mm Nubless projectile for use in 155 mm Artillery guns which will enhance lethality and safety of the projectiles. All these equipment of the Indian Army will be procured under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category," it added.

The AoN for procurement and integration of Automatic Target Tracker (ATT) and Digital Basaltic Computer (DBC) for T-90 Tanks under Buy (India) category have also been accorded which will help in maintaining combative edge of T-90 tanks over adversary platforms. The AoN for procurement of Medium Range Anti-Ship Missiles (MRAShM) for surface platform of Indian Navy under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category has also been accorded. The MRAShM is envisaged as a lightweight Surface-to-Surface Missile which will be a primary offensive weapon onboard Indian Naval Ships.

In addition, the DAC accorded AoNs for procurement of Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) for Indian Air Force (IAF) & Indian Army and Light Combat Aircraft TEJAS MK-1A for IAF from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category. The AoNs have also been accorded by the DAC for upgradation of Su-30 MKI Aircraft indigenously from HAL. While procurement of these equipment will provide enormous strength to the IAF, acquisition from domestic defence industries will take the indigenous capability to a new height. It will also reduce dependability on foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) substantially.

Earlier in July this year, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved plans to buy 26 Rafale fighter aircraft and three Scorpene class conventional submarines for the Indian Navy from France. The development came amid PM Modi's France visit.