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SOURCE: Tribune News Service

Indian Army is set to outsource repair and maintenance of its Russian-origin tank fleet of T-72 and T-90 tanks to private companies.

Bids have been invited from private vendors by asking the how they would undertake operations of Delhi-based 505 Army Base Workshop (ABW). The Army has used what they call “Government Owned Corporate Operated” (GOCO) model to describe this. Under provisions of GOCO, mooted in 2017, infrastructure and facilities of ABWs will remain under the ownership of the government while the contractors will be responsible for the day-to-day operations, plant maintenance and meeting targets.

India operates some 3,600 tanks of these two types, including some 1200 T-90 tanks and 2,400 T-72 tanks.

This is part of the government’s plan to rationalise Army manpower and reduce the “tail” as recommended by the Lt Gen DB Shekatkar committee in 2016. A Committee of Experts (CoE) under the Chairmanship of Lt Gen DB Shekatkar (Retd), was constituted in 2016 recommended outsourcing the functioning of the ABWs to private sector players.

The first stage of the bid called the Request for Information (RFI) has been sent out.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has barred its own Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) and also the Ordnance Factories from bidding.

The 505 Army Base Workshop has carried out repairs of tanks as well as engines and major/minor assemblies of tanks. It currently overhauls 70 of the T-72 tanks annually and its associated engine, assemblies.

From this financial year, the 505 ABW is scheduled to start all these activities for T90 tanks.

Eight Army Base Workshops were established by the British during the Second World War (1939-1945) to carry out repairs and overhaul of weapons, vehicles and equipment to keep the Indian Army operationally ready.