The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the apex decision-making body of the Ministry of Defence, today approved Rs 2,400 crore project to make the Army fleet of armour-protected infantry carrying vehicles (ICVs) capable of operating at night.
The Defence Ministry on Saturday policied by awarding the public sector Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Bharat Electronics (BEL) a contract for upgrading 693 BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles (ICVs) on a “single-vendor basis”, casting aside competitive tendering.
“The ministry approved the upgrade and modernisation of armoured fighting vehicles in the ‘Buy Indian (Indian designed, developed and manufactured)’ category, at a cost of Rs 2,400 crore,” said authoritative defence ministry sources after a meeting of the apex Defence Acquisition Council. He confirmed the upgrade would be carried out at the Ordnance Factory, Medak, in Telangana.
In awarding the contract to the OFB-BEL combine, the ministry ignored multiple private sector requests for competitive tendering, which would allow private firms to continue their work in developing thermal imagers and integrated fire-control systems for the army’s BMP-2s.
According to sources in MoD, “Companies including L&T, TATA Motors, Ashok Leyland, Titagarh Wagons, Alfa Design, HBL Systems, Bharat Forge (submitted three bids), Mahindra, TATA Power (SED), Ordnance Factory Medak, Chogle Group and D Gipro Systems submitted their responses.
The Indian Army will upgrade its entire BMP-2/2K infantry combat vehicle (ICV) fleet in an effort to enhance their capability to address operational requirements.
Upgrades include integration of latest generation fire control system, twin missile launchers and commander’s thermal imaging panoramic sights, anti- tank guided missiles, as well as automatic grenade launchers.