Five Indian companies are reportedly bidding for a new air defense guns contract of the Air Force valued at more than INR 15,000 crore. Apparently, the companies have put their best foot forward as orders worth INR 40,000 crore are at stake for a similar requirement of the Army and Navy.
As per trusted sources, Reliance, Bharat Forge, Tata, L&T, and the state-run Ordnance Factory Board are in the fray for the contract by the air force which aims to buy new age close in weapon systems in a bid to safeguard airfields and other crucial assets.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the Air Force is seeking to purchase 61 flights of the system, out of which only 18 can be directly delivered from a foreign partner. Reportedly, the air defense programs of the Army and Navy are even bigger than the Air Force. Given that air defense guns have not been bought for more than three decades, the combined value of the contract by Army and Navy could be around INR 40,000 crore, cite sources.
The air defense program of the Air Force suffered after a Defense firm Rhienmetall was banned in 2012 over allegations of corruption. The German company had an air defense gun that was a first-of-its-kind in the world and fulfilled the requirements specified by the Indian armed forces.
Despite several attempts by the armed forces, it was tough to find alternate choices. Since then, the air force has reduced its technical requirements, especially, the firing rate to ensure a competitive process.
Indian companies have reportedly partnered with foreign firms for the bid. Bharat Forge has teamed up with BAE systems, while Reliance has collaborated with Hanwha and Thales.
The contract mandates at least 40 percent of the content to be indigenized and Indian companies to lead the bidding process. However, it will take a minimum of three years before a contract is signed since the next phases include evaluations and field trials, reported sources.
Saif currently works as a content writer at Algosonline. A Computer Science graduate who has a zest for writing over coding, commenced his journey in the writing industry as a freelancer. Having had a prior freelance experience, he has tinkered with creative writing, technical writing, blog writing, editing, and copywriting. An ambivert by nature, his hobbies include reading, gymming, and taking long walks.