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By Bulbul Singh

07 Jun 13. Reversing an earlier decision to jointly develop the Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM) with Israel for use by the Indian Army, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) has instead entered the global market to buy the QRSAM on competition basis.

The $1.5 billion tender for the purchase of QRSAMs along with missiles has been issued to global and domestic defence companies which include Russia’s Rosoboronexport, Raytheon of United States, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael of Israel, Tetraedr of Belarus, South Korea’s Doosan Group and LIG Nex1, France-based Thales and Eurosam, Diehl Defence of Germany and pan-European MBDA, in addition to BEL and Punj Lloyd.

An earlier tender issued in 2008 failed to procure the QRSAMs as there was a poor response from the overseas defence companies because of issues regarding the transfer of technology, and the technical features of the requirement. Only Rafael of Israel had been selected after technical evaluation and the tender had to be withdrawn because it was a single vendor basis.

In 2008, bids were sent to Israel’s Rafael, Rheinmetall Defence of Germany, Raytheon of United States, Russia’s KPB Tula, MBDA of France.

The Ministry of Defence favoured competition to joint development with Israel because the ongoing $10 billion Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles (MRSAM) for the Indian Air Force between Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and IAI of Israel, is delayed and the MOD wants that the MRSAM project to get priority before additional joint development programmes could be inked with Israel.

The tender for the QRSAM includes purchase of three squadrons of missile systems along with 1485 missiles. The Indian Army will purchase 42 Combat Vehicles, 20 Transport and Loading Vehicles, 20 Missile Command Posts, 20 Missile Guiding Radars, and 20 Surveillance radars. The systems will be delivered 48 months after the contract is inked while the missiles will be supplied from 48 months to 108 months after the contract is inked.

For a change the MOD wants that the vendor will have to agree to Indian Army buying sub systems, spares directly from the sub vendors of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and not necessarily from the OEM.
Technology Transfer for the systems for life time support and base level maintenance will have to be transferred by the vendor to state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited(BDL).

The QRSAM systems will be mounted on wheeled or tracked vehicles which have a speed of up to 40kph. The radars should be of contemporary technology and carry out surveillance and target acquisition on move.

The QRSAM should have the capability to acquire targets at an altitude of up to 6 kilometers and a minimum altitude of 30 meters.

The QRSAM systems are proposed to be employed for providing air defence to the mechanized formations operating in the plains, semi desert, and desert sectors of India. The technical parameters require that the QRSAM should be a quick reaction missile system capable to engage all types of air targets including aircraft, hovering helicopter and helicopters on the ground with their rotors moving low flying, targets including suddenly appearing targets at close ranges, missiles and other futuristic aerial targets.

The Indian Army plans to replace the Russian OSA-AK air defence systems numbering around 100 and also the aging Russian-built Kvadrat, Shilka and Tunguska air defence systems.

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