India's Radar Tender Evokes Weak Response

India's decision to procure precision approach radars (PARs) only from domestic sources has encountered difficulties, as a majority of the invited companies opted not to participate and none of the remaining three bidders appear to be meeting the technical specifications of the tender, said a source in the Ministry of Defence.

No MoD official would comment on the fate of the tender. The poor response comes as the Indian government is trying to boost a still-developing domestic defense industry, the source added.

Before floating the tender to only domestic vendors under the Buy and Make (India) category, MoD considered a global tender under Buy and Make (Global), but changed its decision to favor domestic companies.

Only three domestic companies, Mahindra Defence Systems, Data Patterns India Private and state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) submitted bids.

The tender issued early this year also was sent to domestic companies Tata Group, Nova Integrated Systems, Tata Power SED, Tata Advanced Systems, Larsen & Toubro and Bharat Electronics.

No executive from the three competing companies would comment on their bids.

A senior executive of the Tata Group company said, "We are staying out from the program because PAR radar systems become obsolete and it is not economically viable to service these radars for 11 long years, as required by the MoD.

"We need to import 70 percent subsystems for maintenance of PAR and currency fluctuations are not allowing us to give long-term maintenance support for the radars," the executive added.
A senior executive of an industry lobbying agency said, "The MoD should not draw over-ambitious technical requirements for a defense program in the Buy and Make (India) category, as it leads to poor participation by domestic vendors."

"The insistence of MoD to approach the domestic sector on every defense program will only lead to delays as the domestic sector is still in its infancy and cannot meet all the requirements of weapons and equipment," said Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst here.

Under the tender, the selected company must supply six of the ground-based radar systems to the Indian Air Force and three for the Navy.

The radar will be used to guide the aircraft during the final approach to touchdown and will also provide the positional information of the aircraft, namely the range and deviation from the desired approach azimuth and elevation. The PAR may be operated either independently or as part of a ground control approach system, which will include a surveillance radar. The ground control approach utilizing PAR is critical for safe recovery of aircraft in all weather conditions.

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