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Published on : Apr 29, 2015

Under the “Make in India” campaign, the Indian government has proposed one of the largest army projects to replace the old anti-aircraft guns of the Indian Army. As the only contenders for this contract worth Rs 16,800-crore, Punj Lloyd and Bharat Forge have come up. The two private companies are gearing up to win the contract of manufacturing 1,102 air defence guns in a span of 15 years, to replace the old L70/ZU 23. As no other companies including the state-run Ordnance Factory Board are vying for the contract, the winner among the two private companies would be established as the major defence player in the private sector. 

Sources close to the matter mentioned that the two domestic companies were chosen after receiving responses to a tender floated earlier this year. This will be a pilot project under the Make in India initiative for the army which will lead to the manufacturer supplying 428 guns in the next five years, along with several lakh rounds of ammunition. But winning the bid would take long for the two companies as it would involve extensive field tests to check the quality of the products, and checking the account books of the contenders. The government is cautious in choosing the winner after the German manufacturer Rheinmetall Air Defense, which was a major contender of the contract, was involved in the OFB scandal.  

If selected for the contract, Punj Lloyd would get a huge opportunity to enter into defence manufacturing. It has a manufacturing facility at Malanpur, Gwalior. Competitor Bharat Forge bought technology from an Austrian gun manufacturer and purchased an artillery factory from Swiss firm RUAG to initiate its entry into the defense manufacturing sector.