Rajnath hands over better assault boats, fighting vehicles, surveillance & other gear for troops in eastern Ladakh

NEW DELHI: From the long-delayed `future infantry soldier as a system’ (F-INSAS) to robust assault boats for Pangong Tso amid the over two-year-long military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday symbolically handed over around a dozen indigenously-developed equipment and systems to the Army.
Developed by DRDO, defence PSUs and private companies in conjunction with the Army, the systems also included mini remotely-piloted aerial systems (RPAS), quick-reaction fighting vehicles, commander thermal imaging sights for T-90 main-battle tanks, `Nipun’ anti-personnel mines, advanced hand-held thermal imagers and rugged communication systems.
“They will enhance the Army’s operational preparedness. This is a shining example of the country’s growing self-reliance prowess, in partnership with the private sector and other institutions,” said Singh.
The Army already has boats for patrolling the Pangong Tso, the 134-km long lake at an altitude of 13,900-feet, where troop disengagement with China took place on the two banks in February 2021. The People’s Liberation Army, however, has since then built two bridges on the part of the lake it controls.
“The new boats, called landing craft assault (LCA), are much more versatile and have overcome the limitations of launch, speed and capacity. They have enhanced the capability to operate across the water obstacles in eastern Ladakh,” a defence ministry official said.
The new infantry-protected mobility vehicles and quick-reaction fighting vehicles, in turn, will ensure quicker deployment and mobility of Indian troops in eastern Ladakh. “These are tailor-made vehicles with high mobility, enhanced firepower and protection. They will facilitate in creating moral ascendency on our northern borders (with China),” he added.
The F-INSAS, which was conceived well over a decade ago, is aimed at equipping soldiers with three primary subsystems. The first is the Russian-origin AK-203 assault rifles, with day and night holographic and reflex sights mounted on the weapons as well as helmets to enable a 360-degree visibility and accuracy in operational conditions.
“The soldiers will also be kitted with multimode hand grenades and multi-purpose knives. The second subsystem is protection through a specially-designed helmet and bullet-proof jacket. The third consists of a communication and surveillance system. F-INSAS is capable of being upgraded further by incorporating real-time data connectivity,” he said.
The MoD also said the new ‘Nipun’ mines will enhance the capability of the troops on the borders since they are “more potent and effective” than the existing ones. The mini RPAS, in turn, will remove the operational limitations faced by IAF aircraft and the Heron unmanned aerial vehicles at the tactical level.
“The RPAS empowers the Army by removing the restricted capability for surveillance, detection and reconnaissance at the level of infantry battalions and mechanised units,” it said.

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