BAE Systems says it can't respond to Army's ultra-light gun tender

BAE Systems, which elaborately publicised its M777 ultra-lightweight 155-mm artillery gun at Def Expo 2008 -- about a month after the Army invited proposals to buy 140 ultra-light 155-mm 39-calibre guns in January this year -- has decided that it cannot participate in the tender under the current trial requirements demanded in the Army/MoD's request for proposal.

According to Julian Scopes, BAE Systems' new president of India operations, the trial requirements had impossibly broad ammunition compatibility requirements -- that the tender required that the gun fielded be capable of firing all available ammunition in the Army's artillery inventory.

The other company that was sent an RFP was Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) for its Pegasus 155mm 39-calibre Light Weight Howitzer, which, it is understood, has responded to the Army's invitation.

Sidenote: BAE Systems is lobbying with the government for permission to set up a 49:51 joint venture (current policy allows the foreign partner to own only 26%) with Mahindra & Mahindra to build combat vehicles in India for the Indian and Army and for export. The inventory of vehicles that could be built, or technology that could be brought in for integration with Mahindra vehicles is currently being identified by the two companies, with informal consultation from the Army of course.

Phone Camera Photo of the M777 at Def Expo ©LiveFist

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