Thursday, September 04, 2008

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


Anonymous said...

good thing. BAE Systems is one effin corrupt organisation. and what happened to that stupid wolf committee which they had set up? the bloody cheek. bankrolling a commission to look into their inner dealings, and getting them to give a clean chit. no shame whatsoever. it is to india's gain if filthy organisations like BAE Systems unilaterally decide not to offer their wares. we should ban them ourselves.

Anonymous said...

agree with anon. we should not to business with any foreign company, but esp. bae systems since there is already so much evidence in the public domain about their crimes and slush-funds, and payoffs to the bloody sheikhs in arabia. they deserve nothing of our taxpayers money.

gagan said...

al-yamamah. stupid brits. more corrupt than americans. at least yanks, russkies and israelis show the money upfront. these bastards pretend to be clean, and then fill the coffers of our fucking mantris.

Anonymous said...

fked us on the hawks. and now fking us by trying to sell bullshit guns.

WillWorkForFood said...

But if they are all so corrupt and out to screw us, shouldn't they have tendered an offer?

In fact they said no??? We cant do this.

As opposed to other countries where they give us an aircraft carrier "for free", sign a contract stating that this is the case, and then refuse to work on it until you pay them a ridiculous amount.

I find it hard to believe that there is an existing gun that meets the requirement to fire *every possible type of ammunition* in the inventory.

Anonymous said...

As far as I am concerned the biggest losers in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation of the former director-general of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) saga are:

(i) the Indian police (considering they are still using antiquated rifles); and
(ii) the Indian Army (who has not been able to buy new howitzers for 23 years).

IMHO, the final score:

Indian bureaucracy - 2
Indian Army/Police -- 0

As I understand it, all Indian defence acquisitions need to be processed by the Defense Procurement Board (DPB) and the DPB frowns upon single source procurement. The procurement for the Request for Proposal for the the acquisition of 140 ultra-light howitzers (RfP) should have been delayed once BAE Systems withdrew its offer of the LW155 howitzer (as BAE refused to accept the initial tender requirement that LW155 howitzer be able to use the existing 155mm ammunition in the Army's artillery inventory). With the BAE pull out, the howitzer competition became a sole-source contract negotiations with ST Kinetics.

If DPB wanted procedural compliance to their processes, I don't understand why the DPB did not stop the procurement process at that point to ask the Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) issue a new RfP - which would have been acceptable to BAE but unacceptable for Indian Army logistics officers.

Instead, MOD proceeded to continue with the trails for ST Kinetics' Pegasus howitzer. And MOD did not inform ST Kinetics of the postponement of the trials for the guns until after the guns had been delivered in Mumbai.

I wonder why the Indian news reports seemed to be so blissfully unaware that MOD was not following it's own DPB processes for the howitzer tender.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation of the former director-general of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) seems to be wholly unrelated to ST Kinetics. According to the article by Ajai Shukla, the SAR-21 MMS carbine actually won in the police carbine trials (against the OFB-developed AMOGH). And the complaints that led to an investigation seems to a politically motivated attempt to scuttle the SAR21MMS carbine purchase following from the police carbine trials.

While I understand that CBI investigations are on-going, they have not yet attempted to make a prima facie case to link ST Kinetics in their investigations on the former OFB director. And it seems, from the statements thus far, CBI has not contacted ST Kinetics on the matter. If indeed there is a link, CBI should be contacting Singapore anti-corruption authorities (CPIB) to assist in their investigation. That also does not seem to have happened.

Sudhir Sharma said...

1.Till the time the Army gets the guns our leaders shall protect the country from China and Pakistan with strong statements at UN, NAM SAARC and at all official banquets thrown in honour of our worthy leaders. There shall be no compromises with national security.
2.We are always fully prepared for any eventuality close to the Independence and Republic Day every year.We will continue to be so by issuing such statements with regularity . New scriptwriters from Bollywood script ( read speech) writers like Javed Akhtar and Kadar Khan shall join the MoD think tank to beef up security.
3. A new DPM 2009x.1 version will be issued incorporating all lessons learnt so far. It shall no doubt be a saga of tendering,retendering, trials/retrials and the travails of 23 years of the MoD. Like Moses and his followers our leaders too shall find the promised gun after 40 years in the wilderness.