Com­ing on the back of a spot­light on de­layed pro­cure­ments and Army Chief Gen­eral V.K. Singh high­light­ing the plight of Army Air De­fence, the Army has ini­ti­ated pro­cure­ment plans for new air de­fence guns with cal­i­bre greater than 30mm. The Army has in­di­cated in its RFI that it is look­ing for a gun that can en­gage air tar­get both with and with­out fire con­trol radar and pos­sess the ca­pa­bil­ity to en­gage day and night with an elec­tro-op­ti­cal fire con­trol sys­tem. The gun needs to be broad-gauge trans­portable and prefer­ably with a cal­i­bre greater than 30mm. The Army’s air de­fence faces ob­so­les­cence with the age­ing ZU-23 units and Tun­guska/Shilka sys­tems still pro­vid­ing the AD main­stay.

The Army will be look­ing to ac­quire large num­bers of AD guns con­sid­er­ing that a steady de­com­mis­sion­ing of its vin­tage Soviet and Swedish sys­tems is in progress. Also, with an up­grade plan for the old Rus­sian guns vir­tu­ally shelved, the way for­ward to re­plen­ish as­sets will be through the process of ac­qui­si­tion, though it is most likely that a large part of off-take will be through a li­cence-build agree­ment with the In­dian Ord­nance Fac­tory Board (OFB) or pri­vate sec­tor. The Army has stressed trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy and main­te­nance trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy, as also the speed with which the guns can be de­liv­ered once con­tracted for.

—SP’s Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

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