NEW DELHI — For the first time, domestic private sector defense companies will be allowed to compete alongside foreign companies in the forthcoming 155mm/52-caliber mounted gun tender, expected to be floated in the next two to three months.
Before, only overseas original equipment manufacturers could participate in the tender, according to the categorization of the program.
The Defence Ministry allowed the participation of domestic defense firms after those companies demanded that the ministry change the categorization of the competition from “Buy and Make Global” to “Buy Global.” The designation allows domestic companies to compete.
Under “Buy and Make Global,” only overseas companies can participate, with the requirement that those companies transfer technology to the state-owned Ordnance Factories Board.
The Indian Army will now issue a global tender for 814 mounted guns, to include domestic companies Tata Power SED, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Bharat Forge. Overseas companies include Nexter of France, Rosoboronexport of Russia, Israel Aerospace Industries, BAE Systems of the UK and General Dynamics of the US.
An executive at Tata Power SED said they have not been told of the decision yet by the MoD, but added that his firm can manufacture all 814 in Bangalore .
In January, the private domestic companies demanded to be considered for future 155mm gun projects, estimated to be worth more than US $3 billion.
Domestic private sector companies will also be allowed to compete for the upgrade of Russian-made 130mm M-46 field artillery guns into 155mm guns, an MoD source said.
Late last year, Tata Power SED claimed that it had developed a 155mm/52-caliber mounted gun with 52 percent indigenous elements.
“Overseas Content of the gun is 48 percent and comprises technology taken for the barrel, breech and muzzle brake,” a company executive told Defense News. The indigenous content includes the 8x8 truck, platform, outrigger assembly, complete hydraulic system, fire control system, system integration and testing.
Private sector majors L&T and Bharat Forge have tied up with overseas defense companies to make the 155mm/52-caliber gun in India. State-owned Defense Research and Development Organisation is also developing its homegrown towed Howitzer gun.
A senior L&T executive said the company had tied up with Samsung for the wheeled artillery guns and with Nexter for making mounted and towed artillery guns in India. ■