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The Ministry of Defense (MoD) in India is now focusing on the development of locally produced self-propelled air defence gun missile systems (SPAD-GMS) as replacements for the ageing Towed Bofors L 70 40mm single-barrel and Soviet-era ZU-23-2 towed 23mm twin-barrel weapon systems. Initially, the plan is to acquire 104 units of SPAD-GMS, which will later be expanded to a total of 300 units.

Since 2013, the Indian Army has evaluated five different SPAD-GMS options, but none have fully met its requirements. The K30 system manufactured by South Korea’s Hanwha Defense came close to meeting the criteria, but due to allegations that it did not meet all parameters and objections from the Russian side, which had offered the Tunguska system by Almaz Ante and Pantsir by KBP Tula systems, the plan to proceed with the K30 was abandoned.

In parallel, there are ongoing discussions between the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Indian Army, and private sector companies regarding the development of a SPAD-GMS variant based on a light tank-based platform. The prototype of the Light Tank is scheduled to be rolled out later this year.

The proposed SPAD-GMS system will consist of twin 30mm guns, surveillance and fire-control radar, an electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), a panoramic periscope, a forward-looking infrared system (FLIR), a laser rangefinder (LRF), thermal sight, TV camera, and a digital fire-control system. The primary challenge will be integrating and testing such a system to ensure it meets the Qualitative Requirements (QRs) set forth by the Indian Army.

Once the discussions between the Indian Army and DRDO conclude, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) may allocate funds for the development of the SPAD-GMS system. The decision to abandon the retrial and not proceed with the K30 system, which came close to securing the contract, is rooted in concerns regarding corruption allegations and the system’s failure to meet all desired parameters. Additionally, there have been serious allegations that the K30 system itself is obsolete.

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