New Delhi: The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is mulling to deploy independent monitors to prepare a report and submit it on the Self Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System (SPAD-GMS) deal.
“Russia had raised objections to the short listing of the South Korean company Hanwha Defense’s offer for the Self Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System project. Companies from Russia and South Korea had responded to the request for proposal for this platform. However, no decision has been taken yet as Russia has raised its concerns with the Indian side,” officials in the know said.
“During the recently concluded DefExpo 2020, an announcement was expected to be made about the winner of the contract,” they said.
To ensure that all the steps have been followed and concerns raised by those who could not be shortlisted, the Ministry decided to have independent monitors to prepare a comprehensive report and outline the concerns if any.
Of the five bidders, only Russia and South Korea made it to the stage of trials. However, Russia failed the trials and this left South Korean company in the fray creating a single vendor situation.
The deal is for around US$3 billion. However, those who could not clear the trials have been reaching out to the MoD expressing concerns against the South Korean company. Issues related to the non-compliance to the specifications in the RFP have been pointed out in several representations made by the Russian side in various meetings.
The Russians indicated that the system offered is one generation older and will have to go for an upgrade immediately.
However, the South Korean company Hanwha Defense officials have denied such reports.
“The system is in compliance to the specifications mentioned in the RFP — Hybrid Biho, which is an improved version of the original Biho mobile air-defence system. It features upgraded firing capability, newer sensors, and other improved devices,” they say.
“Also, it has an electro-optical sights fire control system too, and the system can detect low-flying aerial targets, including drones or UAS, as tests and evaluations were successfully taken for the sale of the systems to some other countries,” officials added.
According to sources some companies claimed that the major issue which was raised stated that the K-30 Biho (Flying Tiger) twin 30mm short-range mobile self-propelled anti-aircraft system has no fire control radar.
Also that it has offered 2D Doppler radar – not in line with the RFP. And it is old and outdated.
Though the independent monitors will be preparing their own observations in a report.
The Indian Army is planning to replace its 1360 obsolete Bofors L 70 40mm single barrel and Soviet-era ZU-23-2 towed 23 mm twin-barrel weapon systems.
In response to a global tender in 2013, upgraded Tunguska system was fielded by Almaz Ante and Pantsir by KBP Tula systems from Russia went in for trials and failed. South Korea’s Hanwha Defense — Hybrid Biho system was found to be not fully compliant, which the company denies.
But, sources in the Indian Army observed that there were shortcomings in both the systems offered by the Russian as well as what was offered by the South Korean side.