Business / Industry Sectors
Israel's Elbit in the race to revive Indian Defense Ministry's artillery programme
25/11/2014
India's new Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar, called for proposals from defense companies to add to the Army's ammunition supply.

The Indian Defence Ministry today revived its plan to procure additional artillery guns for the Army but deferred two critical purchases of the Indian Air Force — additional basic trainers for trainee pilots and replacement for the 50-year-old Avro transporters.

 

The decisions were taken after new Defence Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar chaired his maiden meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) this morning.

 

The DAC cleared the proposal to acquire 814 truck-mounted 155mm/52 calibre artillery guns for Rs 15,750 crore. In the past 25 years, the ministry cancelled tenders for such artillery guns six times due to blacklisting, allegations of corruption and single vendor scenario. Purchase in single vendor situation was not allowed till the defence procurement procedure (DPP) was amended in May 2013.

 

Today, the ministry decided to revive the artillery gun programme and said it will send out a fresh request for proposal which would be open to public as well as private companies.

 

The chances of the tender getting through are better as Indian companies are already working in tandem with their partners. L&T has a tie-up with Nexter of France, TATA with Denel of South Africa while Pune-based Kalyani group has a tie-up with Elbit of Israel. The Russians are already working with the Ordnance Factory Board. 

 

The artillery guns would be procured as per the “buy and make” procedure introduced last year under which 100 such guns would be bought off the shelf while 714 would be made in India. It will be the second major artillery programme since the 1987 Bofors deal. 

 

The first in this programme would be Dhanush or indigenous Bofors, which is in its final stages. The Director General Quality Assurance (DGQA) is carrying out final metallurgy tests before the gun is inducted. The Ordnance Factory Board, a unit of the Ministry of Defence, has produced the gun and the Army has ordered 144 of these with the provision to get another 400.

 

The decision today is a part of the Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan (FARP) formulated in 1999 that aims to have around 3,000 guns of assorted capabilities to equip around 200 artillery regiments. The DAC, meanwhile, deferred the decision on Tata Sons and Airbus to replace IAF's fleet of 56 Avro transport planes and also procurement of additional 106 Swiss Pilatus basic trainer aircraft. In case of Avro, a request for proposal was sent out to eight global companies. Except one, all companies have expressing their inability to participate in bidding, making it single vendor situation.

 

The proposal to acquire additional 106 Swiss Pilatus basic trainer aircraft for the IAF at an estimated cost of Rs 8,200 crore has also been deferred. The IAF is already flying the Swiss plane and has argued that it cannot have two sets of trainers.

 

714 to be made in India

  • The artillery guns will be procured as per the “buy and make” procedure
  • 100 such guns will be bought off the shelf while 714 would be made in India
  • The Army has not acquired artillery guns after the Bofors scam in 1987
  • Ministry to issue a fresh request for proposal which will be open to public as well as private companies

 

First purchase in 25 yrs

 

In the past 25 years, the Defence Ministry has cancelled tenders for the purchase of artillery guns six times because of blacklisting, allegations of corruption and single vendor scenario. Purchase in single vendor situation was not allowed till the defence procurement procedure was amended by the government in May 2013.

 

Source: The Tribune

 

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