FUNDING & POLICY
NEW DELHI — India’s Defense Acquisition Committee — formed to speed defense acquisition — is in the process of clearing a major pending request for proposals (RFPs) for upgrading L-70 guns, AVIATION WEEK has learned.
Avoiding multiple levels of clearance and red tape, the procurement process is supposed to be completed in a short time with the contract signed between 112 to 154 days after the RFP.
With more than 600 Bofors 40 mm L-70 guns in the Indian army’s inventory produced by ordnance factories, the RFP is expected to go to many companies, including BAE Systems, which acquired Bofors in 2005.
BAE’s Bofors upgrade packages for its 40 mm L-60 and L-70 light anti-aircraft guns includes an integrated fire-control system, converting it to an autonomous firing unit with a module that has Saab’s Utaas sight with fire-control computer. Upgrade options include a muzzle velocity radar and optical target designator.
Interestingly, BAE did not respond to an RFP issued for the upgrade of the original Bofors .39-caliber gun to .45-caliber. “That would have been a new gun,” an army official says.
Meanwhile, a request for information for procurement of 155-mm./.52- caliber towed gun systems was issued last month.
The Indian air force also requires advanced air defense systems to replace its aging fleet of Russian Pechora, IGLA and OSA-AK missile systems.
Clearance also is expected to be given for buying four regiments of air defense systems that are being termed as “the Spyder [Israel] low-level quick-reaction missile systems.” This is expected to be a single-vendor order.
Spyder, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems using surface-to-air versions of the Python5 and Derby missiles, is a quick-reaction, medium-range missile
system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles and precision-guided munitions.
The third RFP to be issued will be by the Indian navy, seeking to implement modernized networks to enhance its network-centric warfare and operational capabilities.
- Neelam Mathews