Indian Army accelerates air defence system purchase

15 April 2012 (Last Updated April 15th, 2012 18:30)

The Indian Army air defence directorate has accelerated the purchase of new air defence guns to counter enemy aircraft and missiles, against the backdrop of concerns voiced by the army chief general V K Singh over deficiencies and shortages in the army's inventory.

The Indian Army air defence directorate has accelerated the purchase of new air defence guns to counter enemy aircraft and missiles, against the backdrop of concerns voiced by the army chief general V K Singh over deficiencies and shortages in the army's inventory.

According to army officials, the army air defence directorate issued a global Request for Information (RFI) as part of it plans to procure air defence guns with a calibre in excess of 30mm.

"This RFI has been issued with a view to identify probable vendors who can undertake the said project. The original equipment manufacturers / vendors have been requested to forward information on their product, which they can offer to the Indian Army," added an officer.

As outlined by the army, the guns should be capable of engaging air targets during both day and night, with or without a fire control system, and should be transportable by broad gauge rail rakes.

Singh, had written to the prime minister on 12 March and again on 11 April 2012, stating that 97% of the army's air defence equipment was obsolete.

Four guns, including the 2K12 Kub / Kvadrat self-propelled air defence system, L-70 air defence guns, the Schilka self-propelled weapon system and the twin barrel gun, were dubbed to be worst of the lot.

The directorate has also fast-tracked several other tenders for replacing its Russian-origin air defence systems.

The defence ministry recently signed contracts for the purchase of Akash missile systems and steps were also taken towards upgrading the self-propelled air defence and Schilka air defence systems.

In a bid to overcome the shortage of tank ammunition, contracts were also signed with Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, for the supply of ammunition for T-90 main battle tanks (MBTs).