India Defence Acquisition Trends 2022


Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 [DAP 2020] iteration for 2021 including amendments has been issued and will be valid till 2025 thus providing some stability in the overall procurement procedure unlike in the past when changes were effected every two years and a new procedure was issued

Schemes under DAP 2020 include apart from the legacy ones of Buy, Buy and Make; Make; Design and Development (D & D) Strategic Partnership Model (SPM) and Leasing – Indian and Foreign have been issued. The Leasing model has caught up with the services with a number of procurements made in 2021 and this route is expected to gain a fillip in 2022.

Guidelines for implementation of “Positive,” List of items that have been proscribed for import has been issued in October 2021 which provides further clarity in the procedure to be adopted by the services.

India’s defence procurement has been graded as “Moderate” by the Government Defence Integrity Index of Transparency International, this may act as a marker for firms who are planning to enter India’s defence industry.

India scores poorly in “Actual Purchases Disclosed” while Political Pressure in Acquisitions has not been scored in the Index measurement.

Debarring of Companies from defence procurement has been reiterated by the Ministry of Defence. Six companies debarred in 2012 may be out of the banned list as the bar was for 10 years and is expected to end in 2022.

The debarred firms - Total 6 (i) M/s Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd' (STK) (ii) M/s Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) (iii) M/s T. S. Kisan & Co. Pvt' Ltd., New Delhi' (iv) M/s R. K. Machine Tools Ltd', Ludhiana. M/s Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD), Zurich (i) M/s Corporation Defence, Russia.

Some companies have been taken off the banned list where analysts claim political decisions combined with military requirements may have been the backdrop.

Use of Software simulation for trials has been formalised with draft policy guidelines issued, these may be implemented in 2022 which could speed up trials.

Greater reliance on simulators and thus procurement of the same may increase after the issue of Framework For Simulators In Armed Forces in September 2021.

Formation of ex OFB Companies - Munitions India Limited, Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited,

Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited, Troop Comforts Limited, Yantra India Limited, India Optel Limited and Gliders India Limited with the SOPs for procurement and supply by the services being refined. There could be a lag in production due to the reorganisation.

Major Procurement Programmes of the Services are included as given below.

Indian Army


Indian Army small arms conundrum appears to have been resolved with the signature agreement with Russia for procurement of AK 203, Assault Rifles under Buy and Make scheme with huge numbers at 6,01,427 AK-203, Army has already procured Sig Sauer Assault Rifles approx. 1.5 Lakhs under the Fast Track Procedure.

16 479 LMGs have also been procured from IWI and after the first tranche more are likely to be received.

The Carbine challenge continues with the RFI for 93,895 carbines in progress and a RFP could be finalised in 2022.

Other major procurements at various stages are Light Tanks, 1,770 Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCVs) Arjun Mark 1 A 124, 155 mm Artillery guns, 220 Air Defence Guns and munition, Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), Light Utility Helicopters, a series of drones including 100 Sky Striker drones from Alpha Design-led joint venture (JV) with Elbit Security Systems (ELSEC). Heron UAVs have been inducted under leasing, while 4 were being procured the entire tranche should be operational in 2022.

With 811 licence-built BMP-2/2K ‘Sarath' infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for upgrades, Future Infantry Combat Vehicles [FICV] project appears to be in a limbo.

Indian Navy


The Indian Navy plans to expand 130-warship Navy, with around 230 aircraft, helicopters and drones, to reach the figure of 170 warships and 320 aircraft by 2027 deferred by at least five years due to delays in acquisition plans and budgetary constraints as reported by the Times of India.

This includes a series of submarines, frigates, amphibious warships, fast patrol aircraft and so on.

The second carrier Vikrant is likely to be launched in 2022-23. Third aircraft carrier continues to be in planning stage, approvals awaited due to budget short fall.

The 75 I Submarine project RFP issued to shortlisted Strategic Partners (SPs) or Indian Applicant Companies for the project viz, M/s Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and M/s Larsen &Tubro (L&T). Collaborating with M/s Naval Group-France, M/s TKMS-Germany, M/s JSC ROE-Russia, M/s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co Ltd-South Korea and M/s Navantia-Spain may be progressed with the possible outcome unclear for present.

Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) approval for six nuclear attack submarines by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) by 2025 is said to be under process.

Helicopters, aviation and related assets are on stream for procurement through leasing as well as indigenous programmes of the HAL.

Anti drone systems are the focus for the Navy with Naval Anti Drone System (NADS) with both hard kill and soft kill capabilities from BEL under procurement. Navy is already procuring SMASH anti drone guns ex import from Israel.

Progress in procurement of Predator drones through the United States Foreign Military Sales [FMS] programme could be envisaged with the Navy having inducted a couple through leasing.

Indian Air Force


Two Squadrons of the Rafale are likely to be operational by 2022 and upgrading of fleet is expected to commence from January 2022

Procurement of 50 Mirage for sustaining the Mirage fleet from France may have come up for discussion during the visit of the French Minister for Armed Force Florence Parly.

Progression in LCA Tejas Mark 1 and 1A will be sustained

The RFI has been received for 114 – Single/Double Engine Fighters from the short listed competitors, how this will be progressed remains to be seen.

The first squadron of S 400 Air and Missile Defence System may be deployed in 2022, where speculation of imposition of CAATSA by the United States is continuing.

AMCA – Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft and Tejas LCA Mark II programmes may be moving apace.

Conclusion

While the plans for acquisition are gathering apace the budget will continue to remain a challenge apart from the indigenisation Atma Nirbhar Bharat emphasis in the defence sector amongst others which may delay the process.

How this will impact military capability building remains to be seen?

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