New Delhi: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday cleared the proposals for acquiring 145 M777 155 mm ultra light howitzers from the US.
This is the first time that guns are being purchased for the Army since bofors in 1987. These are light howitzers which can be flown to the mountain areas and will be deployed along the mountainous lines bordering both Pakistan and China.
India will be buying the 155 mm M777 guns at a cost of about Rs 4500 crore. This is first major buy for the Mountain Strike Corps. Earlier gun-maker BAE systems had tied up with India’s Mahindra for the deal.
The proposal had been in the pipeline for several years, despite being cleared more than thrice by the Defence Ministry under Parrikar as well as his UPA predecessor, AK Antony.
The Army has not procured a single howitzer ever since the Bofors guns were acquired from Switzerland in the 1980s.
The other important proposal that the DAC may consider is the acquisition of almost 5,000 combat net radio sets for tactical communication of Army troops.
The DAC is to consider if the radio sets should be procured under the Make in India scheme or to be bought from the Israeli firm Elbit, according to the Army proposal.
The Indian Air Force is also likely to put up its proposal to upgrade its unmanned aerial vehicles that would be enhanced to combat platforms under the top secret Project Cheetah.
IAF officials declined to comment on the top secret project, which is likely to cost Rs10,000 crore.