The defence ministry is set to clear a Rs 5,000 crore procurement of ‘Made in India’ Akash missile systems for the air force in a contract that will involve significant private sector participation, with companies like Tata Power SED and Larsen & Toubro likely to get major work portions.
An air force plan to induct seven squadrons of the Akash anti-air missile systems has been cleared at several levels and is likely to get a final approval from the high-powered defence acquisition committee shortly, sources told ET. Fourteen firing units of the missile will be bought for the seven squadrons.
While state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd will be given the main contract under a ‘repeat order’ – the air force has already contracted for eight squadrons of the missile systems out of which two have been inducted – the major system providers include Electronics Corporation of India, Hindustan Aeronautics, Tata Power SED and L&T, defence ministry officials told ET.
Induction of the system, which has an indigenous content of 96% will also benefit a number of small and medium scale industries that have been participating in the programme. The Akash programme, which was approved for procurement first in 2010, is a major Make in India initiative with the air force cleared to progressively induct 45 firing units over the next few years.
The army has inducted its first Akash Weapon System which was ceremonially handed over to it by BEL in May. The indigenously developed supersonic short range surface-to-air missile system is designed to counter a variety of aerial threats including fast moving aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles up to a range of 25 km and an altitude of 20 km. The mobile area defence system can engage multiple targets simultaneously and is configured to adapt to future requirements as well.