For its Air Defence (AD), the Indian Army has given its sanction for prototype development of ‘MEAT’ (Manoeuvrable Expendable Aerial Target) under the `Make II’ Category. According to a senior army officer, “For giving realistic training to the men during annual exercises there is a need of suitable aerial target system. Such training is important as the Indian Army has different AD platforms for missiles and gun systems and the crew has to be trained to operate these.”
To ensure that there is no delay for want of funds, the project which has been in the pipeline for a couple of years is under Make II category so that it is fast tracked.
Since the Indian Army needs 50 per year, companies including: Mumbai based Sure Safety Solutions Pvt Ltd; Bengaluru based Micronel Global Engineering Pvt Ltd.; ADCEPT Technologies Pvt Ltd.; Kinetix Solutions Pvt Ltd.; and L&T in Mumbai have been identified to develop prototypes. The decision was taken earlier this month.
Under the Make II category in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), there is no funding required from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), whereas under the `Make’ category the MoD has to provide 90% of funds up to prototype stage.
As per the Chapter III of DPP-2016, the ‘Make’ procedure for indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment/ weapon systems was simplified in 2016. And a new sub-category — Make-II (industry funded) — was introduced.
As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, according to the procedure the major focus is on the development of equipment/ system/platform or their upgrades or their subsystems/sub-assembly/assemblies/components.
Also, no government funding is mentioned for the development of the prototype; however, there is an assurance of orders after successful development and trials.
In 2016, the then Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh had launched a website on the Army’s `Make’ Projects in an effort to attract the private sector companies to be involved in making the service self-reliant.
At the time, the former chief had announced that the Indian Army will have its own Design Bureau to work along with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Academia, DPSU’s, Ordnance Factory Board’s (OFB) and private industry. Ten projects were identified by the Indian Army for ‘Make’ category to be manufactured locally by the private sector.
As has been reported by Financial Express Online in 2016, the Indian Army had identified the products including 125mm smooth bore barrel with gun article, improved ammunition for T-72 and T-90 tanks, 1000 HP engines for T-72, individual underwater breathing apparatus, environment control unit and auxiliary power units for T-90 tanks, advanced pilotless target aircrafts, manoeuvrable expendable aerial targets, tracked light dozers, assault track way and modern aircraft refuelling pump.