NEW DELHI — India’s Defence Ministry has awarded three defense contracts to state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd. worth a cumulative of about 67.5 billion rupees (U.S. $824.1 million) without holding a competition with other vendors.
The Indian military currently buys the majority of materiel from state-run defense companies on a single-vendor nomination basis, while the share of private defense contractors constitutes barely 15%.
The ministry on March 24 announced it signed a contract worth about 30 billion rupees with BEL for Himshakti integrated electronic warfare systems. The government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, which designed and developed the Himshakti, said the technology will help the Army in mountainous terrain.
The system features several new-generation technologies such as ultraviolet very high-frequency directional finders and jammers.
The government ordered two Himshakti systems from BEL on a nominated single-vendor basis, despite private defense contractor Tata Power SED having previously won a $115.37 million deal for the supply of two similar systems in a multivendor competition.
The ministry maintains its Project Himshakti will bolster the local economy and provide employment opportunities.
And on March 23, two separate contracts were awarded to BEL for the supply of locally made Arudhra ground-based, medium-power radars and DR-118 radar warning receivers to enhance the electronic warfare capabilities of Su-30 MKI fighter jets in service with the Air Force. The DR-118 deal is worth about 9.5 billion rupees.
The ministry noted that the majority of subassemblies and parts will be sourced from domestic manufacturers.
“The Su-30MKI fighters were earlier integrated with R-118 [radar warning receivers], which employed analog technology, which has inherent limitations; whereas DR-118 has adopted digital technology in processing the inputs,” said Daljit Singh, an independent defense analyst and retired officer in the Air Force, “and it would be a significant improvement over the previous model, and it is indeed a positive development toward self-reliance.”
The eight Arudhra systems are the first indigenous, multifunction, rotating active phased array radars with digital beam-forming technology. They are to replace legacy TRS-2215 and PSM-33 radars supplied by the French company Thales. The deal is worth about 28 billion rupees.
BEL said the Arudhra is locally developed and manufactures the technology based on the a DRDO design. The system is expected to enhance the Air Force’s surveillance capability.
Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.