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India’s quest for advanced military capabilities continues to gain momentum as prominent defence companies enter the race to supply state-of-the-art air defence guns to the Indian Army. The Economic Times has reported that Larsen & Toubro, Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Ltd (AWEIL), and a consortium consisting of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Italy’s Leonardo S.p.A are among the three contenders vying for the prestigious contract.

The competitive bid requires the participating companies to prepare a prototype of the air defence gun and secure approval before the final contract is awarded. This meticulous selection process ensures that only the most capable and reliable weapon systems make their way into the Indian Army’s arsenal. The request for proposal for these air defence guns was issued by the Ministry of Defence in October of the previous year, and bids are anticipated to be opened this month.

The new air defence guns will serve as replacements for the existing weaponry currently in service with the Indian Army. The significance of this procurement extends beyond the immediate need for modernization; the winning bidder is likely to secure subsequent orders for these guns and their associated components from not only Indian defence forces but also from other nations seeking similar capabilities.

One of the paramount features of these air defence guns is their versatility and adaptability. The selected guns must possess the capability to engage a wide spectrum of aerial threats, ranging from fighter and transport aircraft to helicopters, remotely piloted aircraft or drones, cruise missiles, and even microlight aircraft.

The tender stipulates the supply of 220 air defence guns accompanied by 142,000 rounds of ammunition. Furthermore, these guns are expected to demonstrate a service life of 25 years, while the ammunition’s shelf life should extend to at least 10 years.

Apart from the technological specifications, all bidders are also being evaluated based on their commitment to localizing the production of air defence guns. The air defence guns must also demonstrate mobility and agility in various terrains, a key consideration given India’s diverse geographical landscape. The ability to be towed on metalled roads further enhances their strategic value and operational flexibility.

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