Orders for HAMMER missiles have been placed by the Indian airforce as they are willing to equip these missiles from France in a step towards strengthening the capabilities of the indigenous built LCA Tejas fighter aircraft. Any ground targets, hardened bunkers at stand-off ranges of more than 70 kilometres can be taken out by the fighter aircraft once it gets equipped with these missiles.
By using the emergency procurement power which has been granted to the defence forces by the Government of India, in the middle of a military standoff with China, the capability enhancement of the Tejas fighter aircraft is being done.
Aim for enhancements
By significantly enhancing the capabilities of the above-cited fighter aircraft, in order to take out hardened targets from standoff distances, the HAMMER missiles are currently under the process of being integrated with the Tejas fighter aircraft as said by government sources to ANI.
In order to enhance the air to ground targeting capabilities of its most advanced plane, when the Rafale fighter aircrafts had started coming to the Indian Air Force from France the first lot of these HAMMER missiles were acquired by the Indian Air Force.
The French authorities had agreed to supply the Indian Air Force at a short notice for the Rafale combat aircraft due to the urgency at that time in view of the Chinese aggression.
Initially, the Highly Agile Modular Ammunition Extended Range which is known as HAMMER missile is a medium-range air to the ground weapon that was designed and manufactured particularly for the French Airforce and navy.
According to sources, in any type of train including mountainous locations such as Eastern Ladakh, any bunkers or hardened Shelters could be taken out by these HAMMER missiles which would also provide India with further defence capabilities.
Emergency Procurement Powers
With the objective of equipping necessary weaponry for handling any type of conflict or aggression by Enemies on both sides, the emergency procurement powers which were granted to the defence forces of India in different phases by the government have been extensively utilised by the Indian armed forces.
According to official reports, for urgent revenue procurements along with the works amid continuing tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the emergency powers accorded to the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) has once again been extended by the Defence Ministry even as the ministry emphasised strengthening the existing rules of procurement.
The emergency powers for the purpose of revenue procurements through the fast-track process have been extended for around three more months till December 31, as per the defence sources. Since the previous year, this is the third extension of emergency powers granted for revenue procurements while in the last year they were first extended till March from December and were once again extended till August this year, as said by defence sources.
On the other hand for capital procurements, no extension was granted to the emergency powers which had been accorded to the 3 services.
After the Galwan Valley clashes that occurred in the previous year, emergency capital procurement powers have been given for the first time to the three services for the procurement of up to ₹300 crores by the defence ministry even as the emergency powers for the revenue procurements were been granted to them after the Uri surgical strike in 2016 followed by the Balakot airstrike in February 2019.
Under the emergency powers, a number of other essential items along with spares have been bought, much of it for the construction of Habitat, bridges and roads in Eastern Ladakh according to a source.
Among other major capital purchases which were initiated a set of Israeli SPICE bombs, T 72 and T90 Main Battle Tanks man-portable air defence system and Heron drones were also included.
By adding several other capabilities to the Tejas fighter aircraft programme, a strong support towards the same has been shown by the Indian Air Force.
Besides a contract that has been signed for the 83 Mark 1As which is set to be delivered within a couple of years from now, in the initial operational clearance and final operational clearance versions, the Indian Air Force has already operationalised two of its squadrons.
The interest of the Indian Air Force towards the LCA Mark 2 and the AMCA that is currently being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is seen evidently.
As per an Indian fighter pilot who told ANI that as compared to the Pakistani and Chinese joint venture the JF-17 fighter jet the Indian plane is already considered to be far more capable than that and with additions like the HAMMER missile, a much higher category shall be achieved by the Indian plane as compared to them.