Army needs Rs 41,000 crore to rev up waning firepower

TNN

The Navy and IAF may be on the modernization track at a pace that’s much slower than desired, but it’s the Army which seems to be floundering. The 1.13-million-strong force needs as much as Rs 41,000 crore to meet even existing shortages in equipment and ammunition.

The Army has painted a grim picture in its 11th Plan (2007-2012) review, pointing at operational gaps artillery, aviation, air defence & nightfighting capabilities, ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles), PGMs (precision-guided munitions) and specialized tank and rifle ammunition, say sources.

Holding that the “hollowness” in ammunition and equipment is “still critical”, the 11th Plan review to the defence ministry says around Rs 41,000 crore will be required “to make up current deficiencies”. This, when both China and Pakistan are rapidly modernizing their forces.

Incidentally, the Army itself has projected the remote but nevertheless plausible eventuality of a simultaneous “two-front war” in a worst-case scenario, as was first reported by TOI earlier.

But the force is nowhere near 100% operational capability, which an earlier projection held would be possible only by the end of the 14th Plan in 2027.

Take, for instance, ATGMs. While “authorized holding” for these missiles is over 80,000, just about half that number is actually held by the infantry, mechanized infantry and armoured corps, say sources. Similarly, the Bofors ghost is yet to be exorcised, with the force failing to induct any new 155mm howitzers since the infamous 1980s scandal.

A senior official, however, said, “Deficiencies are being made up. The Defence Acquisitions Council and Cabinet Committee on Security have cleared some major contracts. It will take some time for the equipment to reach troops.”

The Bofors ghost is yet to be exorcised, with the force failing to induct any new 155mm howitzers since the 1980s scam.

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Posted by pilotpaul on Oct 27 2011. Filed under All News, India. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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