Thursday 17 October 2019, 06:10 AM
Tata, Ashok Leyland, L&T, OFB and Kalyani in race for arty gun tender
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 11/23/2014 12:00:00 AM

 New Delhi: Following a decision of the Indian Defence Ministry to revive its Artillery gun programme leading Indian private and public sector companies are in the race for making the 814 truck-mounted artillery guns needed by the Indian Army.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on November 22 okayed the proposal to acquire 814 artillery guns for Rs 15,750 crore ( approx US $ 2.5 billion). These will be truck mounted allowing increased mobility and ability to ‘shoot and scoot’ hence denying the adversary to track the gun from its fire trajectory and retaliate.

The guns will be 155mm/52 calibre and will procured as per the "Buy and Make India" procedure introduced last year under which 100 such guns would be bought off the shelf while 714 would be made in India. This will open up  the Indian defence equipment manufacturing sector, provide jobs and bring in technology to India.

The MoD will send out a fresh Request for Proposal (RFP) that will go to the MoD owned Ordnance Factory Board and also to Indian private companies. Despite a similar tender having been scuttled at least six times in the past two-decades, this time the chances of it sailing through are better.

Ashok Leyland, Larsen and Turbo, Tata, Kalyani group and OFB are the Indian companies in the race. The Ashok Leyland, Larsen and Turbo and Nexter of France have formed consortium. TATA has a tie up with Denel of South Africa, whose black-listing  was reversed in August this year. The CBI has lodged a case against Denel in 2005 for allegedly paying kickback in the sale of an anti-material bunker buster gun in India. Eight years later, in October 2013, the case was closed. Nobody was convicted as allegations of kickback could not be substantiated.

Pune based Kalyani group has its tie-up with Elbit of Israel while the Russians, have been working with the OFB.  

The decision is a part of the Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan (FARP) formulated in 1999 that aims to have  some 2,800  to 3,000 artillery guns of assorted capabilities needed to equip around 190-200 artillery regiments.

The truck-mounted artillery gun will be the second major Artillery programme since the 1987 Bofors deal. The other one, the 155 MM ‘Dhanush’ – or the locally made Bofors --  is in its final stages of testing. The field trials are over and have been successful.  The OFB  has produced the gun, the Army has ordered 144  of these with a provision to produce another 400.

The MoD deferred two critical purchases of the Indian Air Force --- one for purchase of additional basic trainers for trainee pilots and the replacement for the fleet of Avro transporter  planes.

The Tata Sons--Airbus joint bid to replace IAF''s fleet of 56 Avro transport planes – of the 1950’s vintage – is the only bidder. An RFP was sent out to eight global companies, except Tata-Airbus, all companies have expressed their inability to respond due to various reasons. Some like Boeing and  Lockheed Martin do not make planes of this category anymore. It is single vendor case and the DAC is empowered to allow it.

The proposal to acquire an additional 106 Swiss Pilatus basic trainer aircraft for the IAF at an estimated cost of about Rs 8,200 crore  has also been deferred. IAF is already flying the Swiss plane and wants more.

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Tata, Ashok Leyland, L&T, OFB and Kalyani in race for arty gun tender

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