Self-Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System: Independent monitors to decide the fate of SPAD-GMS deal

By: |
March 24, 2020 5:09 PM

In fact, “during the recently concluded DefExpo 2020, an announcement was expected to be made about the winner of the contract,” said the officer who wished to remain anonymous.

However, Hanwha Defense officials in an exclusive interaction with Financial Express Online have denied such reports. (Image: https://www.hanwha-defense.co.kr/)However, Hanwha Defense officials in an exclusive interaction with Financial Express Online have denied such reports. (Image: https://www.hanwha-defense.co.kr/)

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has decided to refer the Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System (SPAD-GMS) deal to the independent monitors who are expected to prepare a report and share soon. A senior officer has confirmed to the Financial Express Online that “Russia had raised objections to the short listing of the South Korean company Hanwha Defense’s offer for the Self Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System (SPAD-GMS) project. Companies from Russia and South Korea had responded to the request for proposal for this platform. However, no decision has been taken yet as Russia has raised its concerns with the Indian side.”

In fact, “during the recently concluded DefExpo 2020, an announcement was expected to be made about the winner of the contract,” said the officer who wished to remain anonymous.

To ensure that all the steps have been followed and concerns raised by those who could not be shortlisted, the MoD has decided to have independent monitors to come out with a comprehensive report and to outline the concerns if any.

Story so far

It all started with five bidders. However, only Russia and South Korea made it to the trials stage. Russia failed the trials. This left South Korean company in the fray, creating a single vendor situation.

The deal is for around $ 3 billion. However, those who could not clear the trials have been reaching out to the MoD and expressed concerns against the South Korean company. Issues related to the non-compliance to the specifications in the RFP has been pointed out in several representations made by the Russian side in various meetings.

Russians have indicated that the system offered is one generation older and will have to go for an upgrade immediately.

What does Hanwha Defense say?

However, Hanwha Defense officials in an exclusive interaction with Financial Express Online have denied such reports.

“The system is in compliance to the specifications mentioned in the RFP — Hybrid Biho, which is an improved version of the original Biho mobile air-defense system. It features upgraded firing capability, newer sensors, and other improved devices,” they say.

“Also, it has an electro-optical sights fire control system too, and the system can detect low-flying aerial targets, including drones or UAS, as tests and evaluations were successfully taken for the sale of the systems to some other countries,” officials added.

What concerns were raised?

According to sources some companies claimed that the major issue which was raised stated that the K-30 Biho (Flying Tiger) twin 30mm short-range mobile self-propelled anti-aircraft system has no fire control radar.

Also that it has offered 2 D Doppler radar – not in line with the RFP. And it is old and outdated.

Though the independent monitors will be preparing their own observations in a report, the Indian Army is also looking at which is in the process of being developed. The Indian Army is planning to replace its 1360 obsolete Bofors L 70 40mm single barrel and Soviet-era ZU-23-2 towed 23 mm twin-barrel weapon systems.

In response to a global tender in 2013, upgraded Tunguska system was fielded by Almaz Ante and Pantsir by KBP Tula systems from Russia went in for trials and failed. South Korea’s Hanwha Defense — Hybrid Biho system was found to be not fully compliant, which the company denies.

What does the Indian Army say?

As has been reported earlier, sources in the Indian Army observe that there are short comings in both the systems offered by the Russian as well as what has been offered by the South Korean side.

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