The Indian Army has approached six private sector IT majors to develop a communications backbone network worth Rs100bn ($2.2bn) in a move to bring the domestic IT industry into defence production.

Security-classified expressions of interest (EoI) were sent to five private companies and three public sector undertakings for developing a tactical communications system (TCS), army communications chief Lieutenant General P Mohapatra said.

The EoI recipients were required to respond within two months, along with their estimated capital expenditure for designing and developing the system.

Two companies will be selected to build a prototype of the TCS and the better of the two will manufacture the seven TCS systems required by the Indian Army.

Under Defence Procurement Procedure of 2008, MoD will fund 80% of the development costs, while the selected company will fund the remaining 20%.

TCS is a network-centric backbone that connects crucial systems including the sensors, the shooters, decision systems and command hierarchy in the electronic battlefield.

The TCS project was sanctioned on 18 May 2009 to bolster the mobile and cellular network of the Indian Army’s voice and data communications during battle, according to the Business Standard.