The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to send expressions of interest (EOIs) to both private and state-owned domestic companies in the coming months for development of a new battlefield management system (BMS) for the national army.
Release of EOIs to Bharat Electronics (BEL), Electronics Corporation of India, Computer Maintenance Corporation, ITI, Tata Power SED, Rolta India, Wipro, Larsen & Toubro, HCL, Punj Lloyd, Bharat Forge, Tata Consultancy, Info Systems and Tech Mahindra supports the MoD's efforts to augment the local defence industry, Defense News reports.
An unnamed MoD official was quoted by the news agency as saying even though the BMS development seeks only domestic competitors, those companies could collaborate with foreign manufacturers to procure advanced technologies.
Foreign companies that are likely to compete for the $5bn contract include Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael, Elbit Systems, French companies Thales and Nexter, German Rhode & Schwartz, UK-based BAE Systems, Selex, as well as US manufactures, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and General Dynamics.
Two vendors are expected to be shortlisted by the MoD for production of four BMS prototypes for mountain, jungle, plain and desert operations, following four months of EOI evaluation.
Of the total $67m anticipated to be required for prototypes development, the ministry will pay 80%, while the remaining 20% will be covered by the company.
Around 500 BMS systems will be produced by the selected company, following comprehensive field trials of the prototypes, according to the MoD sources, who also noted that the process will take three years.
Representing a part of the army's network-centric warfare programme, BMS will be designed to network the infantry-level soldiers in the battlefield to command headquarters.
Integrating all surveillance resources, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground sensors, the system will offer instant location of the soldiers and important weapon platforms, as well as details of friendly and hostile forces.