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By Bulbul Singh

19 Jun 13. After failure to get a response from the overseas market for the purchase of 34 Sound Ranging Systems worth $150 million, the Indian Army has decided to give the Request for Proposal (RFP) only to state owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). Both BEL and ECIL will team up with overseas companies to compete for the tender. Ministry of Defence (MOD) is of the view that the domestic deference companies should be pushed into big ticket defence projects and the MOD is even comfortable with the fact that these companies could even go ahead and tie up with overseas companies.

In 2008 the Indian Army entered the global market for purchasing the Sound Ranging Systems (SSRs) and the bids were sent to BAE System of UK and Thales of France but none of the bidders met the stiff staff qualitative requirements set by the Indian Army In 2011 the tender was again issued in favor of Selex of Italy, Thales of France, Rafael of Israel, state owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and the BAE Systems of United Kingdom was not included, and no reasons were either known.
The procurement again did not yield results because the qualitative requirements were regarded were stiff and the process had to be abandoned.

The Indian Army wants use the SRSs to locate enemy artillery by Acoustic means and will spread along the Pakistani and Chinese borders and will detect 80mm and bigger mortars, 100mm and bigger artillery, and tank fire in urban or mountain terrain.

The main function of the SRS will be to locate the source of sound generated by gun fire and to carry out adjustment of own Artillery fire by means of Sound Adjustment methods in plains and desert terrains said an Indian Army official adding that the sound signals will be directed to the Surveillance and Target Acquisition (SATA) Units of the air defence systems to engage the enemy artillery guns.

The SRS should be a compact lightweight system and be able to withstand rugged condition besides being man portable.

The RFP specifies that the SRS should be state-of-the-art technology and computer controlled system based on advanced microprocessors. It should facilitate loading of digital map data in field conditions and function in a fully automated mode. The Indian Army wants the SRS systems to be able locate artillery mortars at a distance of 10 kilometers, field guns at a distance of 15 kilometers and medium guns at a distance of 20 kilometers.

Under normal meteorological conditions of audibility the system should be capable of achieving 60 per cent locations of enemy artillery, said an Indian Army official.

In addition the system, it should be able to deploy including reconnaissance and working out meteorological data in quick time. Under the normal met conditions, the system should be able to locate shell burst up to a range of 12 kilometers to an accuracy of 2 per cent of range.

An appropriate Engineering Support Package (ESP) is to be provided by the supplier to enable the Indian technicians for repair and maintenance. The vendor is also required to provide Spare Parts Price List, optional equipment, consumption rate of the spares and finalize the terms for the life time product support . The In service life of the equipment shall be 20 years and the supplier will be contractually bound to provide product support in terms of maintenance, materials and spares for a period of 20 years.

Currently the Indian Army is using the AN/TPQ-37 Fire finder weapon-locating radars from the United States, most of which are grounded for want of repairs, said sources.

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