India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for three acquisition proposals amounting to ₹4,276 crore ($523 million) in a meeting held on January 10. All the three proposals – two of the Indian Army and one of the Indian Navy – are under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) category.
The DAC granted AoN for procurement of HELINA Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM), launchers and associated support equipment. HELINA is an Army specific helicopter launched variant of the Nag ATGM developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It will be integrated into the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv Mk IV, also called Rudra. The missile is an essential part of weaponisation of ALH, built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), for countering enemy threats.
The DAC also accorded AoN for procurement of VSHORAD (IR Homing) missile system under design and development by DRDO. The missiles with 90mm diameter will have uncooled IIR seekers. The Army has also raised a requirement for laser beam riding missiles.
The Ministry of Defence said:
“In view of the recent developments along the Northern borders there is a need to focus on effective Air Defence (AD) weapon systems which are man portable and can be deployed quickly in rugged terrain and maritime domain. Procurement of VSHORAD, as a robust and quickly deployable system, will strengthen the Air Defence capabilities.”
For the Indian Navy, the DAC granted approval for procurement of BrahMos launcher and Fire Control System (FCS) for the Shivalik class frigates and Next Generation Missile Vessels (NGMV). With their induction, these ships would have enhanced capability of carrying out maritime strike operations, interdicting and destroying enemy’s warships and merchant vessels. The Shivalik class is currently equipped with Russian Klub cruise missiles.
Six NGMVs would be built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL). The previous DAC meeting held in December 2022 had granted AoN for air surveillance radar for NGMV.Meanwhile a Nag Missile System (NAMIS) tracked vehicle based on the BMP-II, also called NAMICA, equipped with Nag ATGMs will feature in the Indian Army Day parade on January 15. A vehicle was spotted during rehearsals indicating that the system is being inducted.
Cover image: A NAMICA prototype fires a Nag ATGM (DRDO)