India’s Defense Research and Development Organization has identified 15 weapon systems that may have an export market, the country’s top military scientist Avinash Chander said.
The military hardware shortlisted for export includes
- Astra beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles,
- Prahar surface-to-surface missiles,
- Akash missiles,
- Light combat aircraft, Tejas,
- supersonic cruise missile Brahmos,
- Arjun MK-2 tanks,
- Airborne early warning and control systems,
- plus many unmanned systems and battlefield radars.
“There is a significant potential for export. The DRDO is more challenged by lack of trust in its capabilities rather than lack of capability,” continued Chander, the man credited with shaping India’s strategic missile program. Home-built missiles would form the centerpiece of India’s arms exports, within the framework of the missile technology control regime that bans exporting missiles with ranges above 200 miles. However, some of these platforms such as the LCA and Arjun Mk-2 aren’t operational yet.
In August, the DRDO had come in for some sharp criticism from the new Prime Minister over delays and cost overruns in key programs. The DRDO chief said, “On an average, we are delivering products in a cycle of eight to ten years from project sanction, which is only two to three years behind global players. In many cases, we had to develop technology from scratch.” He said several projects had missed many deadlines due to technology denial regimes, extremely demanding qualitative requirements, and a shrinking talent pool.