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NEW DELHI — Competing companies in the Indian Navy's surface surveillance radar (SSR) tender question whether the low bidder will be able to produce the radar at its proposed cost.

A partnership of India's Nova Integrated Systems and Terma of Denmark emerged as the low bidder, say Indian Defence Ministry sources.

Nova's bid is more than five times lower than the highest bidder, MoD sources say. Nova Integrated Systems quoted $30 million against rivals Tata Power SED with $44 million and Mahindra Defence Systems with $173 million.

No executive of  Nova or Terma group were available to comment on the huge difference in their bid.

The SSR tender was the first issued in the Buy and Make (India) category.

"If the  procurement of SSR does not yield results, than it will be a big blow to the Make in India initiative itself," say Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst here.

The procurement process is lengthy and it will still be a long time before a contract is agreed, said an Indian Navy official.

The Navy will procure 31 SSR systems under the Buy & Make (India) category, in which domestic companies have to provide at least 50 percent indigenous content, said an MoD official. The selected bidder has to provide seven years maintenance and lifetime spares support.

The tender was floated in June 2013 and seven domestic companies participated. In addition to Nova, Mahindra and Tata,  bids were sent to Broadcast Engineering Consultants India, Data Patterns India Private, Larsen & Toubro and Bharat Electronics.

However only Nova, Mahindra and Tata were selected for trials. Nova teamed  up with Terma, Mahindra partnered with Elta of Israel and Tata joined with Indra of Spain.

The Navy requires that the SSRs be able to operate on the X-band frequency and plans to install the radars as part of the ship's overall weapon and sensor suite. Capable of providing target designation data to surface-to-surface missiles and other fire-control systems, the SSR will support missions for the Navy such as sector search, detection and automatic tracking.

The SSR can also be used to detect and track small surface targets such as mines, swimmers and periscopes up to 12 kilometers in all weather conditions.

Email: vraghuvanshi@defensenews.com

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