Parrikar Fires his First Shot, gives Big Push to Howitzers

  • The government sought to revive the Army's moribund artillery modernization project, which has miserably failed to take off ever since the infamous Bofors scandal of the mid-1980s.
  • The defence acquisitions council (DAC), chaired for the first time by defence minister Manohar Parrikar, gave initial clearance to the Rs 15,750 crore project
  • The clearance of funds was to acquire 814 mounted artillery gun systems or motorized howitzers to plug critical gaps in the Army's long-range, high-volume firepower.
  • Officials said that the two deferred big-ticket IAF projects, in turn, will now be considered at the next DAC meeting on December 910
  • The DAC had to decide whether to go ahead with the Rs 13,000 crore mega project for the private sector to supply 56 medium transport aircraft to replace IAF's aging Avro fleet despite only a single bidder, the Tata-Airbus consortium, being in the fray.
  • The second IAF case was the around Rs 7,000 crore acquisition of 106 more Swiss Pilatus PC-7 basic trainer aircraft, with bulk of them produced domestically, to help train rookie pilots.
  • The DAC approved the revised payment schedule for the nine “nodes“ and 10 “subnodes“ of the IAF's integrated air command and control system (IACCS).