MoD nod to India Inc to build light tank, defence equipment - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 3 March 2022

MoD nod to India Inc to build light tank, defence equipment

Projects under Make-I (such as light tank, above) to be government funded; projects under Make-II to be industry funded


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 4th March 22

In a major boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has offered India’s industry four projects for design and development (D&D) under the Make-I category of the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) – 2020. 


The MoD will extend financial support to the industry for prototype development of these projects. The projects that were accorded “approval in-principle” (or AIP) by the MoD’s Collegiate Committee, includes an Indian light tank that has been mooted for defending the northern Himalayan and Karakoram borders against any offensive by China.


Since the two-year confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh, Indians have felt the need for a small light tank for those areas. The advantage has rested with the PLA, whose armoured units in Tibet are equipped with the new ZTQ-15 (or Type 15) light tank. 


While Indian armoured units laboured to move their heavy and underpowered, 42-tonne, Russian-origin T-72 tanks across mountain passes as high as 17,500 feet, China’s 33-tonne ZTQ-15 light tanks (36 tonnes with additional slap-on armour) were able to move through the 14,000 feet valleys with far greater ease.


Given these operational disadvantages, Indian tank warfare planners have long discussed the need for a smaller, lighter tank for high-altitude warfare.


Second, the Indian Air Force (IAF)has been granted a project for developing communication equipment with Indian security protocols (routers, switches, encryptors, voice over internet protocol (VoIP Phones) and their software.


Another project the IAF has been granted requires developing an airborne electro-optical pod with a “ground based system.” A final project for the IAF is to develop an “airborne stand-off jammer.”


This is for the first time since the launch of the industry-friendly “Defence acquisition procedure” (DAP-2020) that Indian industry has been involved in development of big ticket platforms such as the light tank and communications equipment with Indian security protocols.


In addition, AIP has also been accorded to the following five projects under the industry-funded Make-II procedure:


The IAF will get and oversee full motion simulators for the AH-64E Apache attack helicopter as well as the full motion simulator for the CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopter. These will be positioned in the air bases from where the concerned helicopter flies and will provide on-base training for the pilots of that chopper.


The IAF will also hope to obtain through the Make II procedure a certain quantity of “wearable robotic equipment for aircraft maintenance”.


In addition, two pieces of equipment have been sanctioned for the Indian Army: An “integrated surveillance and targeting system for mechanised forces” and an “autonomous combat vehicle,” that will be piloted from afar through a remote control station.


Make-II category projects involve prototype development  for equipment/system/platform or their upgrades or their sub-systems/sub-assembly/assemblies/components. These are primarily for import substitution/innovative solutions, for which no government funding is provided for prototype development purposes.


The indigenous development of these projects in the country will help harness the design capabilities of Indian defence Industry and position India as a design leader in these technologies.



Graphic: Overall enhancement in requirement of Indigenous Content (IC) 



DPP 2016

DAP 2020

Buy (Indian-IDDM) 

Min 40%

Min 50%

Buy (Indian) 

Min 40%

Indigenous design - Min 40%, otherwise - Min 60%

Buy & Make (Indian) 

Min 50% of Make

Min 50% of Make

Buy & Make 


Buy & Min 50% of Make

Buy (Global – Mfr in India) 


Min 50%

•Buy (Global) 


Min 30% for Indian vendors


1 comment:

  1. I find this to be very exciting and interesting times regarding the Indian defence industry. I wonder how many others are as enthusiastic as I am about 'Make in India'.


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