April 20, 2012: Coming on the back of a spotlight on delayed procurements, and Army chief General VK Singh highlighting the plight of Army air defence, the Army has initiated procurement plans for new air defence guns with caliber greater than 30mm. The Army has indicated in its RFI that it is looking for a gun that can engage air target both with and without a fire control radar and possess the capability to engage day and night with an electro-optical fire control system. The gun needs to be broad-gauge transportable and preferably with a caliber greater than 30mm. The Army's air defence faces obsolescence with ageing ZU-23 units and Tunguska/Shilka systems still providing the AD mainstay.
The Army will be looking to acquire large numbers of AD guns considering that a steady decommissioning of its vintage Soviet and Swedish systems is in progress. Also, with an upgrade plan for the old Russian guns virtually shelved, the way forward to replenish assets will be through the process of acquisition, though it is most likely that a large part of off-take will be through a license-build agreement with the Indian Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) or private sector. The Army has stressed transfer of technology and maintenance transfer of technology, as also the speed with which the guns can be delivered once contracted for.