‘DPP has evolved as a comprehensive, and robust compilation’
In an interview with SP’s Senior Technical Group Editor Lt General (Retd) V.K. Kapoor, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (P&S), Lt General Narendra Singh, gave updates about the different modernisation programmes of the Indian Army. Excerpts:
SP’s M.A.I. (SP’s): DCOAS (P&S) has been assigned far greater responsibilities. How is the system functioning?
Deputy Chief of Army Staff (P&S) (DCOAS): The reconstitution of responsibilities in the Army Headquarters (HQ) has made the functioning smoother for all line duties as well as for the DCOAS (P&S). Having said that, I would say that there has not been any paradigm change of responsibilities or the hierarchy. As the DCOAS (P&S), I am responsible for the modernisation of the Army and managing the capital budget. The system facilitates consolidating requirements which are common to all the line directorates and projecting consolidated cases for modernising the Army. SP’s: Can you update us on the 155mm guns; 155mm/39 calibre ultra-light weight howitzers; 155mm self-propelled guns? DCOAS: The Army is looking at equipping the Indian Artillery with state-of-the-art firepower platforms. Several initiatives to procure various types of 155mm guns for varied operational roles are at various stages of fructification. A three-pronged approach is being adopted, wherein the immediate requirement would be procured ex import; the medium-term requirements would be manufactured after absorbing technology transfers; while the long-term requirements would be met by indigenous developments. SP’s: What is the status of Arjun Mk II? DCOAS: MBT Arjun has been in operational service with the Indian Army since 2007. For an emerging world power, we have to be selfreliant, with a strong indigenous defence industry. Therefore, MBT Arjun is a step in the right direction. We are now focusing on introducing an improved MBT Arjun Mk II with upgrades, to make it a truly world-class tank. The Army has clearly articulated its longterm perspective plan for induction of tanks. SP’s: The overhaul of the T-72 tank is behind schedule. How are we planning to get over this issue? DCOAS: As you are aware, our T-72 fleet is being overhauled along with the upgrades. Our present overhaul capacity is also being enhanced. All these steps will ensure that the complete mid-life overhaul of the tank, along with the upgrades, is completed in an acceptable time frame which meets our operational requirement. SP’s: What is the status of future main battle tank (FMBT)? DCOAS: The FMBT will be an indigenously designed and developed tank. All stakeholders would be brought onboard as the project progresses. It would be based on the guidelines of the DPP and indig-
enous industry would be involved to the extent possible. The developmental project will be monitored in all stages of development, from the PSQR stage to the bulk production, so that we get a state-of-the-art tank, comparable to/better than any futuristic tank of the world. SP’s: Is the capital budget allotted to the Army adequate? DCOAS: Though the initial allocations this year are low, there has never been a constraint of capital budget for modernisation and induction of new technologies. Adequate budgetary support has been promised for the new schemes as well as committed liabilities. SP’s: What are your views on the DPP? DCOAS: Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) has evolved as a comprehensive, representative and robust compilation based on the experiences gained while undertaking defence procurements in the past. The DPP has recently been reviewed. An important aspect of the review is the preferred order of categorisation for all capital procurement cases. In this, “Buy Indian” and “Buy & Make (Indian)” will be the preferred categorisation. SP’s: When will Cheetah and Chetak helicopters be replaced?
DCOAS: Army Aviation Corps, since its raising has transformed itself into a full-fledged arm and is poised to further grow exponentially, in tune with the capability development plan of the Army. The inherent knowledge of the Army aviators of ground warfare; and their affinity for troops on ground, makes Army Aviation a battle winning quotient for effect-based operations and tactical battle centric operations. In the medium and long term, Army Aviation will have varied capability of reconnaissance, utility, armed and attack helicopters to respond swiftly and effectively to the Field Force Commander’s requirement. As regards the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, Cheetal and advanced light helicopter (ALH) are being inducted into the armed forces. SP’s: What is the status of the project F-INSAS? DCOAS: Project future infantry soldier as a system (F-INSAS) perceives the soldier as a system—a situation aware soldier capable of performing multiple roles in battle. We have moved from concept stage to execution stage of the project. In the initial phase, priority is being accorded to weapon systems, enhancing night vision, protection and battlefield mobility capabilities. The weapons and equipment are at various stages of procurement process and the project is progressing well.