MoD bans import of 18 major defence platforms - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Saturday 23 July 2022

MoD bans import of 18 major defence platforms


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 23rd July 22


The Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed in Parliament on Friday the names of eighteen major defence platforms that can no longer be imported. Instead, they will henceforth be indigenously designed and developed (D&D) by domestic industry.


“In continuous pursuit of achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and in sync with the announcement made in the Union Budget 2022-23 that allocated 25 per cent of the defence R&D budget for industry-led R&D, 18 major platforms have been identified and announced by the MoD for industry led D&D,” stated the MoD in a written response to a Parliamentary question.


These include army platforms, such as a light-weight tank, self-healing minefields and “plug-and-play housing” for soldiers posted at extreme altitudes. The navy platforms including a 127 millimetre naval gun for capital warships, while the air force platforms include the long-awaited Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) and a stand-off airborne jammer.

 18 Items that will be made in India



Special Purpose Vehicle






Hypersonic glide vehicles

Anti-jamming systems for varied platforms

Long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

Low-orbit pseudo-satellites

Directed Energy Weapons (>300 KW)


Indian multi-role helicopter (IMRH)






Light-weight tank




Self-healing minefields




Unmanned autonomous AI-based land robot




127 mm naval gun




127 mm guided projectile




Autonomous AI-based land robot




Standoff air-borne jammer




Lithium-ion/ Lithium-sulphur cells [replacing conventional hydrocarbons]




Communication systems: AFNET switches, routers, encryptors & VOIP phones




Electro-optical pod (to be subsequently upgraded to EO/IR) with high-res sensing




‘Plug and Play’ housing/ infrastructure for soldiers posted at extreme altitudes








Defence industry watchers point out that, starting from August 2020, the MoD has issued three lists of defence equipment, the import of which is embargoed. The August 2020 list incrementally bans the import of 101 items, with the embargo growing wider each year.


In June 2021, an additional list of 108 defence items was issued by the MoD, progressively banning their import. Invoking“Atmanirbhar Bharat” repeatedly, the second list – termed “Positive Indigenisation List” – took up to 209, the number of defence items that must be compulsorily procured from Indian companies, the number rising each year out to 2025.


On New Year’s Day, 2021, 69 items from the first list were embargoed for import. On January 01, 2022, another 60 items came under the ban. Another 25 will be embargoed for import at the end of 2022; 25 more at the end of 2023; another 21 at the end of 2024 and nine on the New Year of 2026.


It is unclear how this latest import embargo list dovetails with the previous two lists.


The defence industry is sceptical about whether these lists create any pressure to indigenise. The army is already procuring the K9 Vajra system that Larsen & Toubro (L&T) builds under a South Korean licence outside Pune, so banning the import of tracked guns is superfluous.


Meanwhile, the DRDO, along with private firms Kalyani Group and Tata Aerospace and Defence, is already developing towed artillery guns and Pinaka multi-barrelled rocket launchers. Similarly, the army’s entire requirement of tanks has long been built at Chennai and its infantry combat vehicles at Medak. Banning the import of platforms that are already being built in India serves little purpose.


Similarly, there is little purpose in embargoing the import of naval warships, when most of them are already being built in Indian shipyards. According to official navy figures, of 48 warships under construction, 46 are being built in India; only two frigates are being constructed in Russia. 


Similarly, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is already building the majority of the air force’s fighter and trainer aircraft in India, with the recent exception of the Rafale. Banning the import of aircraft such as the Tejas Mark 1A and the Light Combat Helicopter serve little purpose, since these are indigenously designed and manufactured aircraft, as is the HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft. 


“These 18 platforms (announced on Friday) have been distributed between four indigenous routes prescribed in the Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020, namely, Make-I, Make-II, Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX),” said the MoD.


“These 18 platforms have been identified after extensive consultations between the services, DRDO and the defence industry,” said the MoD.


According to the MoD, most of the platforms – 14 out of the 18 named – are to be developed under the Make-I procedure of the Defence Acquisition Procedure of 2021..


Two major weapons platforms are slated to be developed under the “Special Purpose Vehicle” (SPV) model: a high altitude, long endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and, separately, the Indian multi-role helicopter (IMRH).


A single weapon system – a “low orbit pseudo-satellite” – is proposed to be developed under the innovations for defence excellence (iDEX)” procedure. 


Finally, another single weapon system – an “anti-jamming system for multiple platforms” – is proposed to be developed under the Make-II procedure.


According to the Minister of State for Defence, “These major platforms… have been identified taking into consideration multiple factors like the capabilities of Indian industry, being cost effective, faster and scalable; current technological advancements; requirement of future warfare; operational challenges; need for import substitution etc.

1 comment:

  1. Great to see you standing on a tank, once again the young cavalry officer you once were!
    Ukraine has taught us the importance of artillery 155mm guns and infantry, but the tank still has a role, after the guns have annihilated the enemy in a barrage of attrition.
    After Karmatorsk defence line falls there is absolutely nothing right through to the river Dnieper.
    Then the armour will go through the steppes in swift manoeuvre warfare.
    The war has taught us layered Air Defence is cheaper and superior to expensive aircraft too.
    Rockets can hit distant targets better than aircraft and hypersonic rockets have made expensive carriers and other surface ships sitting ducks.
    Logistics and Stamina based on a countries industrial capacity is crucial, so is self sufficiency.
    The Russians knew this, relying on their way of combat from their Great Patriotic war.
    India instead of buying vulnerable aircraft and building surface ships, should concentrate on air defence and artillery. It should organise its defence industries to produce an endless supply of these.
    Layered and impregnable Air defence to keep enemy aircraft away.
    After the Ukrainian army of Donbas is annihilated, then one can except the south to fall.
    Odessa the sacred Russian city, the Russians will not wish destroyed like Mariupol, it might be left to the last and taken by other means.
    What I find most curious about this war, was the idiocy of sanctioning a country like Russia which had huge natural resources and supplied the gas.
    Sanctions a collective act of suicide by the west will now de industrialise Germany.
    This is a bipolar world now.
    Another thing curious about this war is how the public in the West were fed lies by the media.
    Consent that the west was going to win was manufactured. Going to read that book by Noam Chomsky again


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