SOURCE: New Straits Times

India has approved the procurement of weapons and equipment worth 228 billion rupees to bolster its armed forces. Among them are six additional Poseidon-8I long-range patrol aircraft to be procured from the United States for its navy and additional indigenous Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The procurements were approved in a defence council meeting chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. IAF operates three Israeli Phalcon AWACS and three smaller indigenous Netra Airborne Early Warning and Control systems mounted on Embraer aircraft. According to The Hindu, these platforms would provide on board command and control and early warning, which will assist IAF in achieving effective air space dominance in the least possible time.

The new systems were likely to be mounted on Airbus aircraft. In sharp contrast, Pakistan has seven such aircraft, including the Chinese Karakoram Eagle ZDK-03 and Swedish Saab-2000, with another three on the way.

Pakistan had effectively used the aircraft during aerial skirmishes along the Line of Control in Kashmir, a day after the Balakot airstrike by India.The defence council also approved the indigenous design, development and manufacture of thermal imaging night sights for assault rifles, for use by troops deployed on the frontlines.

The Times of India said the proposal effectively slashed the navy’s long-standing request to acquire 10 Poseidon-8I “submarine-hunting” aircraft amid a severe fund crunch faced by the armed forces.

The cash-strapped armed forces have been directed to curtail their operational requirements due to budgetary constraints.

The Indian Navy has eight Poseidon aircraft at the naval air station INS Rajali in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, while the next four are slated for delivery between 2021 and 2022.