ST Kinetics Howitzers
Approved For Indian Trials
Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, Dec 23, 2009
NEW DELHI — India’s defense ministry has approved
Singapore Technologies (ST) Kinetics to go ahead with the
trials for 39 155mm caliber ultra-light howitzers that were
postponed from June.
The delay in trials followed ST Kinetics being implicated in
the Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe of the ministry’s
former Ordnance Factory Board chairman. The investigation
resulted in a temporary ban on procurements from ST and
six other companies (Aerospace DAILY, June 23, 29).
The government now has said that while the investigations
will carry on, tests of the Howitzers should move
ahead. In June, India received a consignment of ST 155s to
participate in the trials.
The request for proposals (RFP) for 155mm ultra-light
Howitzers was first issued by the defense ministry in January
2008 with an original deadline of April 7, 2008.The submission
deadline was extended twice and the final deadline
was set on June 30, 2008.
After the withdrawal of competitor BAE Systems, ST was
the only vendor left to offer its lightweight 155mm — the Pegasus
SLWH — which is self-propelled and is transportable
by C-130 and CH-47.
“We believe this six-month period would have provided
sufficient time for any serious contender to prepare and put together
a proposal that would meet the RFPs requirements,” ST
spokesman Gaius Ho told Aviation Week in July. “ST Kinetics
abided by the deadline and the tender requirements, and duly
submitted a proposal that fully met the RFP requested.”
After about 10 months of evaluation by the defense ministry’s
Technical Evaluation Committee, ST was informed of its
qualification on April 15, 2009, via a letter from the technical
manager at the defense ministry. In a subsequent letter dated
April 27, the ministry invited ST to present the Pegasus for firing
trials, to take place starting in mid-June, Ho said.
Indian Army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor has said that the
ban on ST would delay Indian plans to acquire light howitzers
for modernizing its artillery.
While India has gone without a new artillery gun for the past
two decades, Pakistan last year received 67 M-109 A5 self-propelled
artillery guns. The guns were transferred under U.S. foreign
military financing, a Pentagon program that entails U.S. lending to
allied governments to buy U.S. military goods and services.
The M-109 self-propelled medium howitzers are mobile
combat support weapons with a range of 220 miles at speeds
up to 35 mph. Combat loaded, the M-109 weighs 27.5 tons.
- Neelam Mathews (email@example.com)