25 Oct 2011 By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI DefenseNews
NEW DELHI - Tata Power SED, winning a rare defense contract for a private Indian defense company, has been declared the lowest bidder in a $186 million contract to develop and supply two integrated electronic warfare systems for mountainous terrain (IEWS-MT) for the Indian Army.
Tata Power beat Elta of Israel, said Indian Defence Ministry sources. Of the four vendors earlier shortlisted for the trials, Bharat Electronics and Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) failed to clear technical trials.
This is a major breakthrough for the private sector to be a system integrator in an important electronics warfare (EW) program, which until now was the exclusive domain of Indian state-owned companies. It is expected to open a larger market for future EW systems for private players, said a TATA Power executive.
Tata Power this year also beat Selex of Italy to win a $260 million contract to modernize 30 Indian Air Force military airports, which the company said was the first win by a domestic private-sector defense company against overseas bidders.
The Buy (Global) tender for IEWS was floated in 2007. The tender was sent to Elisra and Elta of Israel, Thales of France, EADS of Germany, and among domestic companies, Tata Power, Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Electronics, ITI and Axis Aerospace, among others.
After technical evaluations, only Tata Power and Elta remained in the competition. Tata Power's bid of about $186 million was slightly lower than the $188 million bid of Elta, said Defence Ministry sources. The contract is likely to be sealed next month.
The IEWS-MT would be a vehicle-mounted system to deploy in the mountainous terrain of the northeastern border with China.
The IEWS-MT will include active and passive EW measures. Passive EW measures would include scanning the electromagnetic spectrum and location-fixing of enemy transmitters, while active EW would involve jamming and interception of adversary communications, including cellular and radar.
Tata Power developed the command-and-control software, including a customized geographical-information-system engine.