India has signed a $12.9 million contract with defense firm Anadrone Systems for 125 maneuverable expendable aerial targets (MEAT) and associated equipment for the country’s armed forces.
The agreement is the first to be signed by the Indian military under the Make in India II initiative to provide for the country’s defense needs domestically. The purchase represents a significant leap toward making India a self-reliant nation.
The aerial targets to be purchased by the Indian military are expected to provide more realistic training for soldiers, particularly in weapons platforms such as missiles and gun systems.
According to Anadrone Systems, its expendable aerial target is designed for land and sea air defense training and can be maneuvered at subsonic speeds to simulate an incoming target.
“The Shikra target solution was the only system able to demonstrate its ability to meet or exceed all of the required operational and performance requirements of the Indian Army and Anadrone was selected as a single source vendor,” an Anadrone executive told The Economic Times.
With the recent acquisition of the 125 MEATs, Anadrone has supplied over 600 aerial targets in partnership with UK-based QinetiQ Target Systems. The company said at least 50 percent of the technology will be built using indigenous materials.
‘Make in India’ Initiative
In 2014, the “Make in India” program was launched by the Indian government with the aim of transforming the Asian nation into a global design and manufacturing hub, particularly in the defense sector.
Now that India is facing evolving security threats — especially on its border with China — the country has beefed up the initiative by purchasing more armaments and state-of-the-art military equipment.
Last month, American aerospace firm Lockheed Martin established a joint venture with Tata Advanced Systems to manufacture F-21 fighter wings at a production facility in India.
The Indian Army also plans to acquire a modern lightweight low-level radar under the “Make in India” initiative to strengthen its threat detection capabilities along its border with China.
The new equipment will allow the military to identify enemy aircraft in areas where surveillance is restricted because of mountainous terrain.
In November, the Indian Air Force tested an indigenously-developed smart weapon capable of targeting and destroying enemy airfield assets, including bunkers, radars, and runways.