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Role of "Indigenous Weapons and Machinery" in strengthening our Armed Forces.


Hrishabh Tiwari

14/03/2021

 

With restrictions on the import of various weapons and "Made in India" initiative giving a boost to the manufacturing of Indigenous weapons, India now looks to become self-reliant. Let us look at the top "Swadeshi" weapons and machinery and the role they would perform to give Indian Armed Forces the forefront position.

 

To bolster the India's Defence Industrial base, MoD in August 2020 banned import of 101 weapons for next 7 years. The list incorporates major armaments such as artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, ammunition, radars, conventional diesel-electric submarines, communication satellites and shipborne cruise missiles.

"A big step toward self-reliance in defence production in accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat,’ or “Self-Reliant India."

-Defence minister Rajnath Singh

The 101 banned weapons on the list, worth a total of $53.4 billion, are to be manufactured in India, with local companies as prime contractors. Of these, about $17.3 billion will be either Army or Air Force programs, and defence contracts worth $18.6 billion will be meant for naval programs. The MoD said these orders will be placed with domestic companies within the next five to seven years.

 
HAL Tejas. Pic credit: Indian Express

HAL Tejas program was started in the year 2001. Tejas is a single engine, light weight, highly agile, multi-role supersonic fighter. It has quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System with associated advanced flight control laws. The aircraft with delta wing is designed for ‘air combat’ and ‘offensive air support’ with ‘reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ as its secondary roles. Extensive use of advanced composites in the airframe gives a high strength to weight ratio, long fatigue life and low radar signatures. Since its induction in the Airforce and Navy, it has enhanced the capabilities of the IAF & IN arsenal. The naval version of Tejas LCA had achieved a major milestone with a successful "arrested landing" at the shore-based Test Facility of INS Hansa in Goa. The Indian Navy had hailed September 13 as a "golden letter day" in its history. Sure shot in the future, LCA Tejas will prove its mettle just like its predecessor Mig21.

 
Asmi 9mm machine pistol. Pic credit: The Week

"Asmi" which means pride, self-respect is a 9mm machine pistol that was first showcased in January 2021 and is set to replace 9mm pistols used in the army.

Machine pistols are primarily self-loading versions of pistols which are either fully automatic or can also fire bursts of bullets.

DRDO's Pune-based facility Armament Research and Development

Establishment and the Infantry School designed and developed this weapon in a record time of four months. In a statement issued by the DRDO it said, "The machine pistol can fire at a range of 100 meters and is in the class of the Uzi series guns of Israel. The prototype has fired over 300 rounds in the last four months of its development."

 
Kalyani M4. Pic credit: Patrika

Kalyani M4 is a multi-role platform, designed to meet the specific requirements of armed forces for quick mobility in rough terrain and in areas affected by mine and IED threats. It offers best-in-class levels of ballistic and blast protection – up to 50kg TNT side blast or IED/roadside bombs due to its innovative design, built on a flat-floor monocoque hull(chassis is integral with the body). Featuring next-generation design, advanced technologies, and the highest levels of protection, M4 is going to be a true game-changer.

 
INS Kalvari. Pic credit: The Economic Times

INS Kalvari is a Scorpene class(class of diesel-electric attack) submarine. Kalvari is a Malayalam word for tiger shark, it represent agility, strength and hunting power.

The Honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi commissioned INS Kalvari (S-21), the first of the six Scorpene class submarines built under Project 75 (Kalvari Class) into the Indian Navy at an impressive ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 14 December 2017.

Post 2019 Balakot airstrike conducted by Indian Air Force, Indian Navy deployed INS Chakra along with INS Kalvari to search for the Pakistani submarine PNS Saad which was believed to be deployed.

 
UAV Rustom 2. Pic credit: SP's Land Forces

Rustom-II or TAPAS-BH is a MALE UAV (Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) with an operating altitude of 30000 feet, endurance of 24 hours with EO(Electro Optical) & SAR(Synthetic Aperture Radar) payloads and a range of 250 kms. It can carry a variety of payloads up to a maximum of 350 kgs. Rustom-II is a platform designed to perform Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance missions for Indian Armed Forces. Its mission requirements are to provide continuous wide area coverage and yet be able to identify small targets. Rustom-II is comparable in the same class such as IAI’s HERON(Israel's UAV).

MQ-9. Pic credit: POPULAR MECHANICS

The Rustom project costs $209 million, In initial testing the Rustom-II achieved 8 hours of flying at 16000 feet. Rustom-II also becomes important as India has plans to buy 30 UAVs(MQ-9) from US(General Atomics) for a whopping $3 billion(approx. 22,000 crore). Rustom-II would not only save India's money but also exports will bring revenue as various countries have shown intrest in it.

 
Arjun Tank Mk1A. Pic credit: Press Information Bureau

Arjun is a multi-laboratory program of DRDO with CVRDE(Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment) as the lead Laboratory. It is a state-of-the-art tank with superior fire power, high mobility, and excellent protection. The superior armor defeating capability of the indigenously developed Fin Stabilized Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS: most lethal kinetic energy ammunition, capable of destroying all known tank armor up to direct shooting range.)

T-90 Bhisma. Pic credit: Press Information Bureau

The FSAPDS ammunition and 120 mm calibre rifled gun give MBT ARJUN an edge over contemporary world tanks. A computer-controlled integrated fire control system incorporating day-cum-night stabilized sighting system guarantees a very high first round hit probability and reduced reaction time to bring effective fire on targets. Arjun Tank along with T-90 Bhisma is a true nightmare for the enemy.

 
HAL LCH. Pic credit: Forbes

Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) was proposed to meet IAF’s requirement of a dedicated light helicopter for combat operations. LCH has maximum possible commonality with ALH. LCH with a narrow fuselage has pilot and co-pilot/gunner in tandem configuration incorporating a number of stealth features, Armor protection, Night attack capability and crash worthy landing gear for better survivability. LCH is equipped with ATGM(air-to-ground-missiles), ATAM(air-to-air-missiles), 20mm Gun, 70mm Rocket & Missiles. LCH has max speed of 268 kmph and a range of 550 km. Along with AH-64E Apache, Mi-35, Mi-24, the HAL LCH is going to give a boost to combat helicopter fleet.

 
AK-203 Assault Rifle. Pic credit: TheFireArmBlog

AK-203 is an advanced Assault Rifle with a chamber of 7.62×39 mm(same as AK-47), made with Indo-Russian Joint venture. It is an advanced version of the AK-47, with magazine capacity of 30 bullets and 100% accuracy. At least 6.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles will be made by the new joint venture at Amethi’s Korwa Ordnance Factory. These Rifles will replace the Army’s INSAS(Indian Small Arms System) rifle(5.56×45mm). AK-203 will be lighter, shorter and have better firing range than an INSAS rifle. The Army had been looking for modern assault rifles for their personnel, as INSAS has been under bad lights, even called a sub-standard rifle by army personnel. The three forces are looking to end their search by ordering as much as 7.5 lakh(tentative) rifles, costing approximately ₹17000 crore.

 

With better research and newer technologies, India's Defence Industry will be manufacturing best-in-class weapons and machinery required by our Armed Forces personnel to eradicate any enemy force.

The ongoing and future projects like production of Kamov KA 226T light utility helicopters, UAV's, NAG ATGM will help India become self reliant.


Sources: DRDO, HAL, PIB

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