2023 Defense Milestones: Record Exports And Unprecedented Production Highs

Story Highlights
  • Under the Agnipath scheme, the first two groups of 40,000 people have finished their training and are now being sent to their assigned units.
  • The eagerness of the air warriors and their families to take part showed the spirit of nationalism and dedication to moving our country forward.

Over the past few years, the government has changed its view of India from a net importer to a net exporter. This has caused a huge increase in the defense sector.

The Ministry of Defence had a historic year in 2023. Defense exports hit an all-time high—almost Rs 3,000 crore more than the previous financial year—and defense productions went over Rs 1 lakh crore for the first time.

Also, demand for LCA-Tejas, light combat helicopters, aircraft carriers, and other things grew “globally” that year.

To achieve “Aatmanirbharta” in defense and modernization of the Armed Forces sped ahead with renewed vigor, the Defense Ministry focused on strengthening border infrastructure, using Nari Shakti, and making sure that ex-servicemen were taken care of.

Exports hit a record high of about Rs 16,000 crore in the Financial Year (FY) 2022–23, up over 10 times since 2016–17 and almost Rs 3,000 crore more than the previous financial year.

India now sells goods in more than 85 countries. India’s 100 companies that export defense goods right now show the rest of the world how good they are at design and development. Along with systems, line replaceable units, and parts and pieces of small arms and avionics, the main platforms that are exported are the Dornier-228, 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Guns, Brahmos Missiles, the Akash Missile System, Radars, Simulators, Mine Protected Vehicles, Armoured Vehicles, PINAKA Rockets and Launchers, Ammunitions, Thermal Imagers, Body Armors, and Rockets and Launchers.

During the plenary session of “Swavlamban 2.0,” Defense Minister Rajnath Singh released the Fifth Positive Indigenization List (PIL) of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), which has 98 items.

This is on the list: The list includes weapons, ammunition, sensors, and systems that are very complicated. According to the rules in the Defense Acquisition Procedure 2020, all of these things will be bought from local suppliers over a period of time.

Before, the DMA had issued four PILs with 411 military items. Another thing is that the Department of Defence Production (DDP) has sent out four PILs with a total of 4,666 items. These include Line Replacement Units, Sub-systems, Spares, and Components for DPSUs. DDP put out the fourth PIL this year, which has 928 items.

For the first time, defense production was worth more than one lakh crore in the Financial Year (FY) 2022–23. In FY 2021-22, it was 85,000 crore rupees. The government works with defense industries and their groups all the time to get rid of problems they’re having and boost production of defense goods in the country.

To reach the goal of making it easier to do business, many policy changes have been made. For example, MSMEs and start-ups are now part of the supply chain. Small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) and new businesses are now interested in designing, developing, and making weapons because of these policies. As a result, the government has given out almost 200% more defense licenses to these businesses in the last 7 to 8 years.

In FY 2023-24, a record 75%, or about Rs 1 lakh crore, of the budget for buying defense equipment was set aside for domestic companies. This was up from 68% in FY 2022-23.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said this at the 14th Aero India in Bengaluru.

The Ministry of Defense had a budget of Rs 5.94 lakh crore in FY 2023–24, which is 13.18% of the total budget of Rs 45.03 lakh crore. The amount of money spent on modernization and building up infrastructure went up to 1.63 lakh crore.

Another thing is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Helicopter Factory to the country in Tumakuru, Karnataka.

The factory is the biggest place in India that makes helicopters, and at first it will only make Light Utility Helicopters (LUHs). The LUH is a three-ton, single-engine, multipurpose utility helicopter that was designed and built in Uganda. It has the unique ability to turn quickly. The factory will start out making about 30 helicopters a year. Over time, that number can be raised to 60, and then to 90.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew a sortie in November in a Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) “Tejas” twin-seater light combat fighter aircraft. HAL designed, developed, and made the plane in Bengaluru. From the Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment in Bengaluru, the mission was launched.

During the 30-minute sortie, the Prime Minister was shown what Tejas could do. The Indian Prime Minister flew a fighter jet sortie for the first time.

The Prime Minister also saw where the LCA Tejas was made and was told about the high-tech work being done at HAL to make the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” vision come true.

The first Tejas, a two-seater light combat aircraft, was given to the IAF by HAL in Bengaluru. Union Defence Minister of State (MoS) Ajay Bhatt was there. This is a 4.5-generation, light, all-weather, multi-role aircraft made to help the Indian Air Force train and also be able to act as a fighter if needed.

There are a lot of modern ideas and technologies in it, like carefree maneuvering, advanced glass cockpits, integrated digital avionics systems, relaxed static stability, and advanced composite materials for the airframe. The IAF requested 83 LCAs from HAL.

It was also the year that the first C-295 transport plane was officially accepted into the Indian Air Force.

In September, the Indian Air Force officially accepted its first C-295 MW transport plane, which was there with the Defense Minister.

The planes are being delivered by Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain, working together.

Fifteen more planes will be sent in “flyaway” condition, and they should arrive by August 2025.

The C-295 transport aircraft manufacturing facility will make the other forty. The first “Made in India” aircraft is scheduled to arrive in September 2026.

The HS-748 Avro will be replaced by this medium-lift tactical aircraft that can take off and land on unprepared landing grounds.

According to the ministry, the Defence Acquisition Council, which was led by Rajnath Singh, approved plans worth more than 3.50 lakh crore in 2023 to make the Armed Forces better prepared for operations.

This year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dedicated 118 infrastructure projects run by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) to the whole country.

At the moment, BRO is working on 20 tunnels. Ten are being built and ten are just being planned. This year, 3,179m worth of bridges have been finished. It said that the second part of improving the Amarnath Yatra Tracks began in September.

In January, Captain Shiva Chauhan broke the glass ceiling by being the first woman officer to be sent to work at Kumar Post, Siachen Glacier.

The battlefield at Siachen is the highest in the world. Captain Geetika Koul was the first woman medical officer to be sent to Siachen in December. She had just finished her training at Siachen Battle School. A few days later, Captain Fatima Wasim was sent to the Siachen Glacier as the first woman medical officer to work on an operational post.

The government ordered on January 4, 2023, that Armed Forces Pensioners and family pensioners under One Rank One Pension (OROP) would have their pensions changed as of July 1, 2019.

The Indian Army was always very ready and made sure that all the borders, including the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Line of Control (LC), were stable and under their control. The press release also said that constant operations against terrorism were carried out while maintaining high standards for training and constantly reviewing new and potential threats to national security.

“The Indian Army is completely committed to promoting gender neutrality,” said it.

Women officers (WOs) are being trained to join the Regiment of Artillery. Ten women were made officers in the Regiment of Artillery in 2023.

Under the Agnipath scheme, the first two groups of 40,000 people have finished their training and are now being sent to their assigned units.

As part of the Tri-Services contingent, the Indian Air Force marching contingent took part in the Bastille Day Parade 2023 in Paris on July 14. The Prime Minister of India, who was the event’s chief guest, saw the parade.

As part of the Independence Day celebrations from August 13 to August 15, 2023, the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign was run. The eagerness of the air warriors and their families to take part showed the spirit of nationalism and dedication to moving our country forward.

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