The Indian Army has signed a contract, worth $12.88m (Rs960m), with Anadrone Systems for the manoeuvrable expendable aerial target (MEAT).

The contract to procure the aerial target systems is the first to be signed by the army under the Make-II category.

It also represents a significant step towards the ‘AtmaNirbhar’ initiative, which is aimed at making India a self-reliant nation.

The industry funded projects that fall under the ‘Make-II’ category include prototype development of equipment and their upgrades and sub-systems.

The government does not provide funding for prototype development under this category.

Defence Production India tweeted: “A significant step towards Atmanirbhar Defence. The first success story of Make-II Projects Indian Army has signed the first contract today under Make-II for Manoeuvrable Expendable Aerial Target with M/s Anadrone Systems Pvt Ltd worth Rs96 Cr, for Army Air Defence and Indian Air Force.”

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The Indian Army sanctioned the prototype development of MEAT in 2018.

On 13 July 2020, the Indian Directorate General of Army Air Defence issued a request to buy 125 aerial targets.

The Indian Army Air Defence operates a variety of missiles for different ranges and gun systems.

The aerial target systems will provide realistic training to the crews in operating the weapon platforms during the annual field firing exercises.

Anadrone Systems manufactures aerial target systems in partnership with UK defence firm QinetiQ Target Systems.

Last year, the Indian Army opened its new Quantum Laboratory in Madhya Pradesh.