FLASH! Indian 155mm/52cal Towed Gun Competition Scrapped A Record Third Time, Re-Tender Signalled

Horror for the Indian Army with a dark dollop of deja vu. Its eight-year effort to buy and build 1,580 (400 + 1,180) new towed 155mm/52cal howitzers has been scrapped, with fresh indications now that it will be re-tendered a record third time. The Indian Army issued a fresh RFI today inviting information from global vendors on modern 155mm/52cal towed gun systems. Yesterday, the Army had goofed up with an RFI that asked for guns it described as “towed (self-propelled)” — an embarrassing boo-boo it corrected today by expunging the “self-propelled” part and re-releasing the RFI for just “towed” guns. The re-tender is understood to have been made necessary after the BAE-Bofors FH77-B05-L52 gun wound up (for the record third time!) the only gun in the fray, after its competitor in the latest round of trials, ST Kinetics, entered India’s blacklist. More details shortly on the guns that are likely to be part of the fresh competition. All I can do is feel sorry for the Army. More details on the mess shortly. And do read Saurabh Joshi’s excellently detailed post on the fiasco here on Stratpost.

39 thoughts on “FLASH! Indian 155mm/52cal Towed Gun Competition Scrapped A Record Third Time, Re-Tender Signalled”

  1. When is the RFI for a new defence minister being issued. The current one is useless, rudderless and totally incompetent.

  2. oh!!!!!hahahahaha OMG!!now i can see da real shit …… am fully assured now dat all dis MMRCA Tamasha nd Drama will too gonna meet da same fait -NEWS FLASH MMRCA retenders as only 1 US PLANE MAKER BOEING LEFT IN DA STAGE

  3. Words cannot describe the incompetence of the people involved.. yeah when you have dinosaurs at the helm and promote a culture of cronism then this is the expected result…that pardon me but I couldn't resist Morons rule the roost.
    A sad sad thing indeed.

  4. Aw lets forget it,

    Ask the Army to get more tanks or maybe refurbish existing artillery or get some more gunships!

  5. AK Antony was chosen as Defence Minister because as a socialist from Kerala he was (relatively) honest and wouldn't bring more Congress scandals like Bofors and HDW.

    Unfortunately where he excelled in one field he lacked in everything else. His obsession with transparency meant that barely any major defence deals got cleared in his tenure; many kept getting re-tendered while the Armed Forces kept slogging and risking their lives operating dangerously obsolete equipment.

    And to make matters worse the promising future of the Indian private defence industry has been compromised by the socialist ideals of Antony and his Keralan crony Pallam Raju. This is well-documented in Ajai Shukla's blog; numerous times a combination of dadagiri by DRDO and Ordinance Factory Unions and pro-PSU bias from MoD has resulted in private players getting zero major contracts even though they are more competent and can deliver faster than the PSUs.

    It's sad how our own corrupt, arrogant, biased and impotent politicians pose a greater threat to our soldiers' lives than our enemies across the border.

  6. Truly a WTF moment! Ruined my weekend, though the first signs were visible from Ajai Shukla's blog on the arty fiasco. Jai Ho!
    Why can't we buy the Bofor's gun when it practically blew away all competition? Am sure Antony can take the FMS route and buy BAE-Bofors FH77-B05-L52 outright. Just get the f****n gun for almightys sake.

  7. in a scams rotten country anything is possible
    army needs these guns but our pilitical babus fear these guns may bring ghost shadows of rajiv gandhi who and khatrochi

    finally it is country which suffers lack of suffer but our political parties dont care

  8. ROZ ka samachar – a mig 27 crahes near jalpaiguri in west bengal.both pilots killed .twelve injured including four children.

  9. Death to Socialists,

    The Army has 2 options left
    1.Revolt and brand Antony with an iron rod
    2.Get into a JV, like we did with the BrahMos

    Remember, the ones who invaded India in the past, were able to do it, because they had better artillery

  10. who needs external armies when we have babus and Ak antony loser in this country..thanks very much for the delay external enemies will be very much pleased given that the next conflict has great possibility of occuring in mountains so what babu and neta will send the jawan to death

  11. I am kind of confused why u are blaming AK Antony for this fiasco ? If generations of Army leadership does not have the balls to insist on Bofors guns and if the BJP as the main opposition does not have the integrity to support Congress on the purchase of this gun why blame the Congress for this ?

    That is hypocrisy at its best.

    Bofore scandal was a pathetic 64 Crore scandal !

    Ketan Parekh scam was 800 Crore.

    Lalus Fodder scam was 1200 Crore scam.

    Telgi Stamp paper scam was 2500 Crore.

    Harshad Mehta scam was 5000 Crore scam.

    Satyam scam was 7100 Crore.

    How much more would the opposition flog the alleged Bofors scandal ?

    So tell me again, how will Vajpayee / George Fernandes / Advani support buying of the Bofors Guns for NATIONAL INTERESTS??? …..Coffin scam anyone ?

  12. This government is hell bent on destroying the Indian Army from inside. Who needs enemies when the "owners" of our country behave like this.

    I know there are some patriots still left in Army, they need to do the right thing if you get my drift. Enough is enough.

  13. As a matter of fact the Army was in the middle of evaluating tenders for over 4000 new guns before BJP got voted out of power. Then the tender got delayed and, surprise, cancelled by Congress.

    Considering the BJP had a lot of big-ticket purchases being approved at the time(Su-30MKI, Admiral Gorshkov, AWACS) I am fairly sure both the artillery tender and the IAF's request for a repeat buy of 120 Mirage-2000s(which is what led Congress to start MMRCA circus for 'fairness') would have been granted in a year or two.

    The reasons why the Armed Forces are unhappy with Antony and Pallam's socialist-minded administration are fairly well known in these circles.

  14. Revenge of Cloepetra ! Why did they cut "Q" and "R" 's noses ?

    To Hell with the Army and the Country..

    Army should not be allowed a victory in this Country ! With Bofors they will blast the heck out of Porkies. That would reduce the stature of the "Qeen" at home and Uncle Sam's game plans in Pakistan which has donated 100 pieces of Self Propelled medium guns (to kill Osama they say) to blast off Indian border towns?

    Those appaer to be the premises. Otherwise for 23 years Indians enjoyed Gods blessings for the absence of full fledged war !

  15. Russian MZ-146-1, fitted with a 155-mm / L52 howitzer is definitely inferior than the demands of the requirements and can not be obtained in sufficient numbers in case of urgency.

    So at least the new tender must run efficiently on a breakneck speed.

  16. what kind of policy is this which leaves us bare naked if god forbid some emergency comes along the border.
    dont these bunch of buggers know before hand that who all are going to participate. if u dont want bofors to participate then frame the RFI in such a way that they cannot respond and compete. this is dont in all contracts where a particular company has to be favored. Ask ny municipal corp. or the railway contracts or any other govt contract.
    what a shoddy way to do teh business. bunch of jokers these ppl are. we need bloody dictatorship. enuff of democracy where we ppl dont know who to choose and ppl we choose try to bite of teh hand that feeds them, in this case brings them to power.

  17. We even have delays for the upgrade of our 105mm and 130mm guns. Antony and his entire MoD should be used as target practice for the next round of tenders.

  18. Defence acquisition should be based on merit; even though bofors have proven history within our own army, I see no reason to re-tender the whole process. At a time when we are facing acute pressure from 2 notorious neighbours, our MOD should be fast-tracking all defence deals. Cancelling the bid is absolutely ridiculous

  19. Defence acquisition should be based on merit; even though bofors have proven history within our own army, I see no reason to re-tender the whole process. At a time when we are facing acute pressure from 2 notorious neighbours, our MOD should be fast-tracking all defence deals. Cancelling the bid is absolutely ridiculous

  20. This is not a BJP versus Congress issue, they are all corrupt and traitors. BJP led government had plenty of time to procure all sorts of military hardware. They could have signed off thousands of crores if they wanted to, instead they too stalled many deals waiting for arm companies to raise their 'fees', all the while overconfident that they will come back to power.

    Well they didn't, and our forces are still suffering due to these kind of corrupt leadership and stupid decisions.

    Shiv has already documented on this blog how thousands of our best Army officers have left in just past three years. Jawans cannot leave because of their weak financial situation in villages, but in any war they will not fight with sub-standard gear but rather surrender and I do not blame them.

    Pathetic state of affairs. Unless there is a coup and this laughable excuse of a "democratic" setup dispensed permanently, I do not see any hope for our country. We have bigger enemies inside than outside, no country can survive this two sided assault.

  21. Anon @ 1:32 PM

    See, the sheer stupidity of 'banning' bofors is this: Bofors paid the bribe all those years ago because Indian netas and babus wanted the bribe! And because they got caught (although not punished), our netas and babus now want to 'punish' Bofors.

    The mind boggles.

    It does not matter that Bofors has different owners now, or it still makes the best 155mm artillery system.

  22. It's not a coincidence that all our strategic and defence programs have slowed down since Congress came to power. Due to US pressure they delayed the development of Agni-III and cancelled ICBM plans, they stopped further nuclear weapons reasearch(if not for BJP even our low-yield kiloton bombs would have remained untested) and signed away the right to perform subcritcal tests to refine them(nuclear deal condition; not even the CTBT requires such an extreme step). Meanwhile Scorpene was delayed by several years, acquisition of second submarine production line was put on the backburner, IAF's Mirage-2000 proposal got blown up into the global circus called MMRCA, order for second batch of Phalcons was delayed and now cut from four to two, order for additional AJTs delayed, artillery guns dragging on till now and so on.

    Face it: the 'hawkish' BJP was definitely much, much faster in such things. They were not shy of quick, single-vendor deals if the Armed Forces had selected them, and most importantly when a tender was floated you could be sure it would be signed eventually after negotiations, not stalled, cancelled, re-tendered and stalled again.

    Imagine how Congress would have reacted if the Army had asked for T-90 and Su-30MKI during their reign instead of BJP's: there would have been 10-year long global tenders for tanks and heavy fighters while our Army and Air Force sat on obsolete T-72s and MiGs.

  23. total agree Agree gautam spineless and gutless congress worthless in terms of national security handling

  24. I think the need of the hour is to put Country first before politics. Clearly the outright winner in the in the 1st & 2nd trials was the BAE-Bofors FH77-L52 howitzer. It's proven it's metal numerous times, and there is no doubt that it should be the best and only choice for the Indian Army's current requirement.

    But as Shiv corretly pointed out, as long as Bofors remains a hot potato, I don't foresee any resolution to this acquisition.

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