April 12, 2013

Defence Ministry asks Army to avoid single-vendor tender for missiles

Stung by scams in import of military hardware, the Defence Ministry has asked the Army to avoid a single-vendor tender for procuring anti-tank guided missiles from Israel and look for other sources also who can offer the weapon system.

During the last meeting of Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister A K Antony, the Army had proposed to buy the Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel but it was deferred as the Ministry wanted the Army to find out if other vendors were providing the system and they could also be issued the tender, sources said here.

The Ministry, which is looking to enhance transparency in weapon procurement through the import route, is now not inclined much towards the single-vendor tenders and wants a fair competition between arms suppliers for any acquisition, they said.

The tri-services Integrated Defence Staff Headquarters has been asked to do a 'Technology Scan' for finding out if there are other sources who can offer their products for the project.

The procurement of the ATGMs was expected to cost over Rs 5,000 crore for procuring ATGMs for more than 350 Infantry battalions of the Indian Army.

The Army has been looking at procuring these systems to do away with the shortfall of such weaponry in its inventory.

The shortage of anti-tank weapons was also mentioned in the letter written by former Army Chief Gen V K Singh in his top secret letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

India was also interested in evaluating the American Javelin missile system for the purpose but the complex defence sales procedures of the US over the conduct of trials and Transfer of Technology did not allow the Army to test it out.

Under the project, India wants the vendors to transfer the technology of their systems to the Bharat Dynamics Limited for their mass production in India

The Economic Times

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