• The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for three capital acquisition proposals amounting to ₹4,276 crore.
  • These include the helicopter-launched Nag (HELINA) anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), very short-range air defence systems (VSHORAD), BrahMos cruise missile launchers, and fire control systems (FCS) for naval ships. All three are indigenous design and development projects.
  • “The DAC accorded AoN for procurement of HELINA ATGMs, launchers and associated support equipment which will be integrated to the advanced light helicopter (ALH). This missile is an essential part of weaponisation of ALH for countering enemy threat,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
  • The HELINA and Dhruvastra being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are third-generation lock-on-before-launch fire-and-forget ATGMs meant for the indigenous ALH and the light combat helicopter. HELINA is the Army variant and Dhruvastra is the Air Force variant.

Focus on air defence

  • The DAC also accorded AoN for procurement of the VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system under design and development by the DRDO.
  • “In view of the recent developments along the northern borders, there is a need to focus on effective air defence weapon systems which are man portable and can be deployed quickly in rugged terrain and maritime domain,” the Ministry said, adding procurement of VSHORAD, as a robust and quickly deployable system, will strengthen the capabilities.
  • The Army has a major requirement for VSHORAD and several attempts to import the systems have not materialised. A major deal with Russia, which was shortlisted in a bidding, has been stuck for several years and is on the verge of cancellation.
  • Further, the DAC also granted approval for procurement of BrahMos launcher and FCS for the Shivalik class of ships and next-generation missile vessels for the Navy.


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