DAC Current Affairs - 2019

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DAC clears procurements of assault rifles and carbines

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has cleared procurement proposal of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on fast track basis for Rs 3,547 crore.

DAC also simplified ‘Make II’ procedure which prescribes guidelines to be followed to develop and manufacture defence equipment through Indian Industry.

Procurement of assault rifles

The procurement of assault rifles aims enable the Defence Forces to meet their immediate requirement for troops deployed on borders. They will be processed under government-to-government route to conclude deals at the earliest. Army had decided to go for two different rifles — import a high-tech rifle in small numbers for infantry soldiers on front lines and procure the indigenous rifle in large numbers to meet balance requirement.

Make II procedure

The simplification of Make II procedure aims encourage participation of private sector in defence design and production and  give boost to ‘Make in India’ programme in Defence Sector. Make II procedure prescribes guidelines to develop and manufacture defence equipment through Indian industry.

The revised procedure will make the procedure industry friendly, with minimal government control. It will now allow Defence Ministry to accept suo motu proposals from industry and also allow start-ups to develop equipment for armed forces.

The minimum qualification criteria to participate in ‘Make II’ projects also was relaxed by removing conditions related to credit rating and reducing financial net worth criteria. Now all vendors meeting criteria will be allowed to participate in prototype development process instead of only two vendors earlier. In addition there will be no need to submit detailed project report.

After accord of approval by DAC, all clearances will be accorded by Service Head-Quarters (SHQ) which will also set up project facilitation teams to hand-hold the industry.

DAC clears mega project to acquire 111 helicopters for Indian Navy

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accorded acceptance of necessity (AoN) for the procurement 111 naval utility helicopters (NUHs) worth Rs 21,738 crore for Indian Navy. DAC is Defence Ministry’s highest decision-making body on procurement.

Approval Process

AoN is first step of procurement of an defence equipment. After DAC gives AoN, request for proposal can be issued to firms, seeking their responses with technical and commercial bids. Before this step, Indian Navy had issued a request for information (RFI) for procurement of 111 NUHs.

Key Facts

It is first proposal under strategic partnership model to get approval which is considered as a major boost to defence manufacturing in country. Under strategic partnership model, foreign Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) ties up with a domestic strategic partner to manufacture weapon systems.

As part of proposal, 16 naval utility helicopters (NUHs) will be procured in fly away state from selected foreign OEM and remaining 95 will be made by Indian strategic partner in India. Firms, including Sikorsky, Bell and Airbus are likely contenders for this project and will have to respond to RFI with information on capabilities they have to manufacture these helicopters.

According to RFI issued by Indian Navy, these NUHs should be able to perform roles including search and rescue, anti-piracy, disaster relief, surveillance and medical evacuation. This will involve ferrying troops and supplies to warships. The helicopters will also be submarine hunters and also have torpedoes.

Active towed array sonar systems

DAC has also accorded AoN for procurement of 9 active towed array sonar systems (advanced) for Indian Navy at an estimated cost of Rs 450 crore. This sonar system will be fitted on modern naval vessels and will enhance their submarine detection capabilities. This is especially important in light of China planning to increase its submarine fleet in the coming years and its growing naval presence in the Indian Ocean.