India has held a range of talks on the sale of indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash missile and supersonic Bramhos missile to Vietnam, the government on Friday said.
“India and Vietnam share a strategic partnership. Defence cooperation, including supply of defence equipment, is an important aspect of this partnership.
“Both countries have held discussions on range of issues in this regard,” Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence said in a written reply in Lok Sabha on whether the government has any plans to sell Akash and Bramhos to the Southeast Asian nation.
Responding to another question, Bhamre said a Committee of Experts was constituted by Ministry of Defence under the chairmanship of Lt Gen (retd) D B Shekatkar to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces.
“The Committee has submitted its final report in December 2016. An internal committee has been constituted within the Ministry to analyse the report, identify the recommendations to be accepted and to frame the key action points as well as a roadmap for their implementation,” he said.
The Minister, in reply to another question, said trials on Pinaka rocket were successfully conducted at Integrated Test Range (ITR) Balasore in two phases on January 12 and 24 this year, with range of 65 km and 75 km, respectively.
The guided version of Pinaka rocket incorporates Inertial Navigation Systems (INS)/ Global Positioning System (GPS) for the mid-course guidance with accuracy of 60m to 80m at all ranges.
Pinaka has been designed and developed for induction into Army after successful user trials. Two regiments of Pinaka unguided version have already been inducted into the Army.
“Current trials have been conducted for demonstrating the feasibility of the development of guided version of Pinaka rocket using the same launcher and ammunition configuration. In the recent trials conducted, the desired accuracy has been achieved,” Bhamre said.
To a question on whether the air force has sufficient number of fighter aircraft to maintain its combat edge, he said, it is “adequately equipped” to cater for the threat environment that exists.
He said procurement of state-of-art fighter aircraft is on and it includes 36 Rafale jets, Su-30 MKI aircraft while procurement of LCA Tejas has also been approved.
Bhamre also said Advance Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft will be inducted into the Indian Air Force after completion of design and development flight trials and systems evaluation.
“Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has fitted into AEW&C various indigenously developed Systems/ Equipment. Complete software for all systems have also been developed indigenously, mostly within DRDO,” he said.
To another question, the minister said, in the past two years, 50,000 bullet proof jackets (BPJ) have been procured for the Indian Army through an Indian manufacturer. Further, the case for procurement of BPJs of quantity 1,86,138 through Capital Route is under Buy (Indian) category.