NEW DELHI — The two consortia competing to provide India's new battlefield management system (BMS) have submitted their detailed project reports and the Defence Ministry will order prototypes within six months.

The proposed India's homegrown $6 billion battlefield management system will (BMS) proposed to be built in the "Make in India" category and reserved only for domestic companies. The has been accelerated within one year of issuing of the Expression of Interest.two development agencies, (DAs) Tata Power SED with Larsen & Toubro, and state-owned Bharat Electronics with Rolta India,combine who have formed a consortium to compete for the program have submitted their detailed project reports (DPR) last month, said a Defence Ministry source. in the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The reports will be vetted by the Indian Army's Integrated Project Management Team (IMPT) and the MoD will then finally issue orders for development of the BMS prototypes of the BMS within six months, said the MoD source, as effort is made to hasten creation of the system.

The development agenciesDAs will choose overseas their partners for technical assistance from overseas defense compaies to seek technical tie ups but the tender will only be awarded to the domestic companies under the Make in India category.

Under the Make in India, category, the government will funds 80 percent of the towards the cost of the prototype development and the development agencies cover the rest. rest 20 per cent will be funded by the DAsThe cost towards development of the Prototype development is estimated at about is likely to be around $300 million, said an executive of a domestic company participating in the consortium.

After the trials of the BMS, a final production will be given to a the shortlisted agency;  and it could take up to two years to reach production for the stage, said the MoD source.

"The pace at which the ambitious BMS program lying on the desk for years has taken off is a significant in India's defense industry," said Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst.

Once fully developed and proved, battlefield management systems the BMS systems will be critical elements of the Army's network-centric warfare program of the Indian Army and will link network the infantry level troops on the battlefield to the command headquarters. It will also network links the ground troops with the various Army command headquarters and integrate all elements in a battlegroup, through rugged computers, that will providing real time tactical scenarios. by integration of all elements in a battle group.

The BMS system will be capable to receive and transmit data, voice and images from multiple sources, including radar, cameras, laser range-finders and ground sensors, allowing the which will equip the infantry soldier on the battlefield to get access to real time information simultaneously with the command headquarters.

BMS Prototype

Each BMS prototype will have four variants: for the infantry battalion group, combat group (armor), combat group (mechanized infantry), and special forces group.

In addition, Technologies to be included in each prototype include a will have essential critical BMS technologies including geographical information system, (GIS) , multisensor data fusion system, rugged computing devices, for platforms, and a software defined radio-based communication system for soldiers. applications.

The BMS prototypes will be developed and tested in the next 40 months; a thereafter final order of 600 plus BMS systems would then will be placed for more than at a cost of over $5.8 billion.

A senior executive of one development agency who requested not to be named said, "The challenge in developing a BMS is not on the hardware. With Indian vendors manufacturers capable of manufacturing the latest state-of-the-art electronics, hardware will not be a challenge, but the challenge will be in deploying such a system. Considering the size of the Indian Army, an efficient command-and-control system is the heart of the system and the biggest stumbling block."

In February of last year, the Indian Army issued an expression of interest to 14 (EOI) to domestic companies,  - state owned Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), Electronics Corporation of India Ltd.(ECIL); Computer Maintenance Corporation Private Limited (CMC) Ltd.; ITI Ltd. , domestic private sector major Tata Power SED; Rolta India Ltd;, Wipro Ltd.; Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Ltd.; HCL Ltd. Punj Lloyd Ltd.; Bharat Forge Ltd.;, Tata Consultancy Ltd. (TCS); Infosys and Tech Mahindrahowever CMC, TCS , Punj Lloyd , Wipro and Infosys did not participate in the bid. only two consortiums, Tata Power SED-Larsen & Toubro, and Bharat Electronics-Ltd - Rolta India, combine qualified the bids.


Vivek Raghuvanshi is the India correspondent for Defense News.

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