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By Bulbul Singh

13 Dec 12. After failing to buy the flycatcher radar in 2008, India has again floated global bids to buy 66 Flycatcher radars as upgraded Superfledermaus radar (USFM) radars.

The Request for Information (RFI) was floated in 2010, and RFP has now been floated now to procure the radars at an estimated cost of around $400m.

The bids have been sent to both domestic and overseas defence electronics companies and the private sector defence electronics companies here have also been allowed to participate in the tender.

The bids have been sent to state owned Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). The private sector defence electronics majors which have been sent the bids include Tata Power SED, Larsen & Toubro (L&T Ltd), Dattapatterns.

Overseas, the RFP has been sent to Thales of France, IAI of Israel, Rosoboronoexport of Russia, Bumar of Poland, Raytheon of U.S. However, Rheinmetall of Germany has been dropped because the company has been blacklisted by the Indian defence ministry following alleged involvement in defence paybacks. In response to the 2008 tender only Thales and IAI of Israel were selected after technical evaluation, but the trials never took off because there was confusion on who will pay the cost of bringing the equipment on trial here. Secondly, the specifications of the radars demanded was too tough and the
tender had to be cancelled.

The current tender again specifies that the radars have been brought to India at the cost of the vendor. However, some qualitative requirements have been watered down after the responses to the RFI floated in 2010, said an Indian army official. The 66 Successor of Flycatcher are to be procured by the Indian Defence Forces under Transfer of Technology. Under the arrangement the Original Equipment Manufacturer OEM will have to transfer the complete technology to state owned BEL which will be the designated production agency. The OEM will quote for supply for 12 Fully Forced equipment, semi-knocked Down SKD kits, Complete Knocked Down CKD kits, and Indigenous manufacture kits. Successor of Flycatcher Radar is proposed to be employed for surveillance command and control and tracking for Very Short Range Air Defence , Short Range Air Defence Missile Systems and Air Defence guns.

The radar system will consist of a three dimensional Search Radar, Tracking radar, Electro Optical Sensor for passive tracking, Weapon Control Unite, Integral Power supply system and High Mobility Vehicle for mounting of the Radar shelter. The radar should be able to detect low level targets to a minimum of 30m in altitude. The minimum altitude should not be more than 30m and maximum not less than 10 kilometers. Another specification which had been difficult to meet in the 2008 tender was the ability of the radar to control the fire of at least two guns and be capable of operating in severe sea, weather and ground clutters. The ground Ground clutter is an unavoidable form of radar contamination. It occurs when fixed objects, such as buildings, trees, or terrain, obstruct the radar beam and produce non-meteorological echoes. Echoes resulting from ground clutter are usually exaggerated in both size and intensity and may cause radar systems to overestimate precipitation intensity near the radar.

The radar should be able to operate effectively in hostile ECM environment, caused by ground based and air borne passive, active and deception jammers. The radar should be mounted on High Mobility Vehicle and be capable of being transported by air and rail and be able to negotiate contemporary assault bridges. The maximum speed of the vehicle should not be less than 40 kilometres per hour on road and should be capable of sustained cross country movement in deserts.

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