Without engaging in any form of vendor competition, the Indian Defence Ministry has chosen state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd. for three defence contracts totalling approximately 67.5 billion rupees (U.S. $824.1 million).
India’s Ministry of Defence recently awarded three defense contracts worth approximately $824.1 million to state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) without holding a competition with other vendors.
The contracts are for the supply of Himshakti integrated electronic warfare systems, Arudhra ground-based, medium-power radars, and DR-118 radar warning receivers.
The Himshakti system, which features several new-generation technologies, will help the Indian Army in mountainous terrain.
The government’s Defence Research and Development Organisation designed and developed the technology.
BEL was awarded the contract for the supply of two Himshakti systems on a nominated single-vendor basis, despite private defense contractor Tata Power SED having previously won a $115.37 million deal for the supply of two similar systems in a multivendor competition.
The ministry believes that the project will bolster the local economy and create employment opportunities.
The Arudhra systems are the first indigenous, multifunction, rotating active phased array radars with digital beam-forming technology.
They will replace legacy TRS-2215 and PSM-33 radars supplied by French company Thales. The deal is worth about $374 million, and the majority of subassemblies and parts will be sourced from domestic manufacturers.
BEL said the Arudhra is locally developed and manufactures the technology based on a DRDO design. The system is expected to enhance the Indian Air Force’s surveillance capability.
The DR-118 radar warning receivers will enhance the electronic warfare capabilities of Su-30 MKI fighter jets in service with the Air Force.
The deal is worth about $125 million, and the majority of subassemblies and parts will be sourced from domestic manufacturers.
The DR-118 has adopted digital technology in processing the inputs, which is a significant improvement over the previous model, and it is a positive development toward self-reliance, according to Daljit Singh, an independent defense analyst and retired officer in the Air Force.
India currently buys the majority of materiel from state-run defense companies on a single-vendor nomination basis, while the share of private defense contractors constitutes barely 15%.
The government’s decision to award these contracts to BEL without holding a competition with other vendors is in line with India’s push toward self-reliance and reducing reliance on foreign suppliers.
While the decision may be viewed as protectionist, it is not unusual for governments to support their domestic industries, especially in the defense sector, which is considered a strategic sector in many countries.
The move is also in line with India’s push toward self-reliance and reducing reliance on foreign suppliers, which is seen as critical to achieving its strategic objectives.
Overall, the contracts awarded to BEL will enhance India’s defense capabilities and bolster the local economy, creating employment opportunities. As India continues to pursue its push toward self-reliance, it is likely that more contracts will be awarded to domestic suppliers, with foreign suppliers facing increased competition from their Indian counterparts.