May. 29, 2013 By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI – Defense News
NEW DELHI — The Indian Defence Ministry has reissued a tender to buy 100 armored personnel carriers (APCs), slightly easing the requirements from 2009’s failed tender.
A Defence Ministry source said the qualitative requirements laid out in 2009 were “tough,” and sought to mix the best systems available on the market. The vendor also was reequired to make a special prototype of the APC to compete. None of the vendors could meet the qualitative requirements for the APCs in the earlier tender.
The requirements have been diluted slightly relating to the mobility of the vehicles, and the tender has again been issued to the same vendors involved in 2009: General Dynamics in the US, Rosoboronexport of Russia, Ukrainexport of Ukraine, Poland’s Bumar, Finmeccanica of Italy, BAE Systems of the UK and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann of Germany.
An Indian Army official said the vehicle procurement process is slow and the allocated budget has been nearly stagnant for the last three years.
The budget allocation for military vehicles for 2013-14 is only 20.8 billion rupees (US $377 million), compared with 22.6 billion rupees in 2012-13 and an actual spend of 23.5 billion rupees in 2011-’12.
To meet its APC requirements, the Army is using about 2,000 Russian BMP-1 and BMP-2 multipurpose armored vehicles, equipped with anti-tank missiles and other weapons.
Along with the purchase of 100 APCs, the global tender includes buying 60,668 armor piercing rounds, 91,004 high-explosive rounds for the 25-40mm cannon, 886,436 rounds of the 7.62 coaxial machine gun and 84,100 rounds for the 25mm-40mm anti-grenade launcher.
The requirements stipulate that the wheeled APCs be able to fire on the move, have good speed on the road and cross country, and have the ability to protect against mines, improvised explosive devices, small arms, grenades and artillery splinters.
The vehicle must be able to be armed with a machine gun, cannon and automatic grenade launcher.
In addition, the vehicle must have modern, secure communications, amphibious capability and the ability to cross obstacles.
The Army wants the cannon to be able to fire at targets, including helicopters, at a distance of 2,500 meters.
This month, India tapped a consortium of two domestic companies to supply the Army with 100 Tatra trucks, breaking a monopoly held by a Czech Republic-based firm.
Domestic companies Ashok Leyland and Larsen & Toubro formed the winning consortium, which beat another consortium composed of Tata Motors and Tata Power SED.
The bid by Czech firm Tatra Czech, filed jointly with state-owned Bharat Earth Movers, failed at the trial stage.