Defence Industry

Astra And Nirbhay Missiles Worth Over Rs 10,000 Crore To Be Purchased

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) today cleared acquisitions worth Rs. 38,900 crore for three services. Key projects cleared by the DAC, headed by defence Minister Rajnath Singh, include 33 Russian fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, air-to-air and cruise missiles for the IAF and Indian Navy, and rocket warheads and radios for the Army.

The missiles cleared include the 100-km range Astra Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles; and the 1,000-km range Nirbhay cruise missile for the IAF and Navy, worth over Rs. 10,000 crore, are among the largest for indigenously designed and developed missiles.

The DAC also cleared the purchase of 33 fighter aircraft from Russia—12 Su-30MKIs and 21 refurbished MiG-29 fighters, a key agenda point during Singh’s visit to Moscow, Russia, last month. The 21 MiG-29 are to be refurbished and rebuilt by Russia for Rs 7,418 crore. The Su-30MKI will be locally assembled by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd at their Nashik facility for Rs. 10,730 crore. They will likely be the last orders for the Russian-designed air dominance fighter that has been in continuous production for nearly two decades. The DAC also cleared the upgradation of the IAF’s existing fleet of 59 MiG-29 aircraft.

A defence ministry release noted that a majority of the deals—Rs. 31,130 crore—involved Indian defence industry, with participation of several MSMEs, as prime tier vendors. The indigenous content in some of these projects is up to 80 per cent of the project cost.

The MoD will purchase 250 indigenously designed and developed Astra missiles for the IAF’s fleet of Su-30MKIs and the Navy’s MiG-29K fighter aircraft. These missiles, defence, officials say, can be delivered next year onwards.

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