Project Alert: Air Defence Guns for Indian Army

Defence Program: Air Defence Guns for Indian Army

RFI Issued: 7th October 2022

Quantity: 220 air defence guns along with 141,576 rounds of ammunition

Estimated Cost: for Rs. 6500 Crores

Category: Buy & Make (Indian)

Confirmed Contenders: Larsen & Toubro, Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Ltd (AWEIL), and a consortium consisting of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Italy’s Leonardo S.p.A

Current Status: Bids have been submitted by the three contenders

Brief: The need for Army Air Defence (AAD) is critical as stated by the former army chief General Singh.

Rather, he stated that almost 97% of the Indian Army’s air defence gun missile systems (ADGMS) were obsolete and in need of being upgraded or replaced, or both.

Basically, he was referring to some 1,360-legacy single-barrel towed Bofors 40mm L/70 automatic guns and Soviet-era Zu-23-2B-23MM twin-barrel autocannon, both of which were inducted into the Army in the late 1960s.

Keeping this in mind, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been wanting to buy air defence (AD) guns for the ‘land force’; however the procurement program had been witnessing prolonged delays and a series of cancelled tenders in the past.

And, now after four previous failed attempts, the MoD have issued a new Request for Proposal (RFP) or tender for air defence guns on 7th October last year. 

The proposed AD gun is planned to replace the ‘in service’ Guns, currently held by Army AD.

Further, these AD gun will be employed for providing terminal / close in AD to critical assets in all types of terrain to include HAA/ mountainous terrain /plains/ deserts / semi-deserts.

The tender stipulates the supply of 220 air defence guns accompanied by 141,576 rounds of ammunition (37, 440 advanced and 1,04, 136 standard rounds of ammunition).

These are being procured under ‘Buy and Make (Indian) category with ‘Buy’ quantity ad ‘Zero.’ The complete quantity of 220 guns and 141,576 rounds of ammunition will be procured under ‘make’ portion of the contract.

Furthermore, these guns are expected to demonstrate a service life of 25 years, while the ammunition’s shelf life should extend to at least 10 years.

The estimated contract value is marked around Rs 6,500 crore.

As of now, bids have been submitted by three confirmed contenders including of Larsen & Toubro, AWEIL, and a consortium consisting of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd and Italy’s Leonardo S.p.A.

Noteworthy, this ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ procurement follows an initial RFP published in October 2021, which underwent eight successive deadline extensions for domestic vendors.

However, it was later on cancelled when the MoD retracted the RFP without further explanation.

Specifications of Air Defence Guns 

The RFI stipulates that the AD guns should have the following specifications:- 

Mobility: The mobility of the gun system should permit the following: –

(a) Movement in all types of terrain to include mountainous terrain/HAA, plains, deserts/semi-deserts, in towed configuration.

(b) Gun should be towed on metalled roads minimumupto50 kmph and in off road conditions minimum upto 10 kmph.

(c) Capable of being transported by ‘in service’ aircraft and ships.

Transportability: Rail transportability on broad gauge with ODC, if applicable.

Operating Altitude of the Gun System: Up to 4.5 Km above Mean Sea Level.

Weight of the Gun: Not more than 7 Tons+ 10% in travelling position (excluding auxiliary power unit i.e., generators).

Into Action and Out of Action: Into action or out of action time both during day and night with a trained crew should not exceed 10 minutes.

Crew: Should not exceed four AD soldiers (excluding driver).

Technical Parameters – Following are the required Technical Parameters: –

(a) The gun should be capable of being towed by an ‘in Service’ gun towing vehicle for employment in all types of terrain to include mountainous terrain / HAA / plains / semi-deserts / deserts.

(b) The gun should be able to engage air targets during day and night using ‘in service’ fire control radar (at the time of evaluation) as well as Electro Optical Fire Control Systems (EOFCS) independently. Provision for handing over target from radar to EOFCS must exist.

(c) The gun should be able to fire smart / advance ammunition {similar to pre-fragmented programmable Proximity Fuze (3P) / Advanced Hit Efficiency and Destruction (AHEAD) class of ammunition) in addition to standard ammunition.

Salient Features of the Gun: Following are the salient features of the AD guns: –

(a) Rate of Fire. Cyclic rate of fire of 200rounds/minute or more.

(b) Effective Range against Air Targets. Upto 4000m or more.

(c) Effective Height against Air Targets. Upto 2500m or more.

Gun should be capable of engaging aerial targets: –

(a) Moving with speed upto500 m/s and above (Vendor certification for targets above speeds of ‘in-service’ target system at the time of evaluation).

(b) The gun should have the capability to engage fighter aircraft, transport aircraft, helicopters (including hovering helicopters), all types of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) / Drones, Cruise missiles, PGMs, Micro light aircraft, Para motors, Para gliders and Aero models (Vendor Certification).

(c) It should be capable of engaging ground targets upto 2000m or more.

Electro Mechanical Drives: The gun should have Electro Mechanical / electric drive.

  • The gun should have auto parallax correction and auto leveling features with manual system as back up.
  • The gun should be compatible with GPS and should be capable of integrating with IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) in future.

Ammunition System: Following are the requirement for the ammunition system: –

(a) AD gun must have automatic ammunition loading facilities.

(b) It should be able to carry out an effective engagement (seven rounds or more for minimum two seconds) without reloading the gun during the said engagement.

(c) The gun should be capable of firing the following types of ammunition: –

(i) Advanced ammunition with self-destruct capability (Pre-Fragmented Programmable Proximity Fuze or similar ammunition. Air Burst Ammunition. PFFC will not be considered as advanced ammunition).

(ii) High Explosive (HE) rounds with self-destruction capability and tracers.

(d) There should be adequate ammunition stowage (quantity of ammunition on the gun) for more than five effective engagements.

(e) Reloading of gun with rounds required for minimum five effective engagements should be completed within 10 minutes and should be possible with two or less personnel.

(f) Ammunition should have shelf life of at least 10 years, which may be extendable after inspection by competent authority.

Angular Travel:

(a) Elevation – Minus 50 to Plus 800

(b) Azimuth – 00 to 3600

Further, there should be a provision of putting fire limiting system (Taboo), within the above stated bearing and elevation.

Noteworthy, the gun should be able to engage aerial targets independently with the ‘in service’ fire control radar and EOFCS by day & night.

The gun should have the capability to engage fighter aircraft, transport aircraft, helicopters (including hovering helicopters), Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) / Drones, Cruise missiles, PGMs, Micro light aircraft, para motors, Para gliders and Aero models.

It should be capable of minimum five or more effective engagements of continuous fire without barrel change.

Hit Probability: The hit probability of minimum 0.6 during one effective engagement cycle at 70% of the maximum effective range with EOFCS using smart ammunition.

EPFCS: The gun should be capable of engaging air targets using the EOFCS when it is operating without fire control radar during day & night.

The EOFCS should comprise of an integrated computing and sighting system having a CCD camera, TI Sight (cooled), LRF and auto tracker or similar equipment based on vendor configuration.

It should have adequate tracking range so as to enable the engagement of target at the maximum effective range of the Gun (target speed up to500 m/s, Vendor Certification for targets above speeds of in-service target system.

Power Supply System: Durable, rechargeable, maintenance free battery bank. The battery capacity should permit minimum 10 hours normal operation or 20 effective engagements.

Operating Temperature of Gun System:

(i) Minimum: Between minus 20 deg to minus 10 deg (Vendor certification for temperature beyond minus 20 upto minus 25).

(ii) Maximum: Between plus 45 deg to plus 55 deg.

To download the RFP click:


As per the latest reports there are three bidders for the Air Defence Guns which include:

  • Larsen & Toubro
  • Advanced Weapons & Equipment India Ltd (AWEIL)
  • A consortium consisting of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Italy’s Leonardo S.p.A

While BHEL has partnered with a foreign vendor, the other two bidders are relying on in-house capabilities.

As reported, in terms of the primary criteria, the bidders need to prepare a prototype of the weapon before the final approval with a contractual obligation for spares and maintenance for 25 years from the date of the agreement.

Also, the Indian Vendor will ensure absorption of under mentioned critical technologies: –

(i) Ordnance

(aa) Barrel. Material, manufacturing technology including Rifling.

(ab) Breech Mechanism. Material and manufacturing technology including obturation technology.

(ac) Recoil System. Material and manufacturing technology.

(ad) Ammunition Loading System. Auto ammunition loading and handling system.

(ii) EOFCS. Fire control system, system integration, TI sight (cooled), target tracking capability, fire control computer with software.

(iii) Servo System. Gun control system.

(iv) Advanced Ammunition. Material and Manufacturing technology for Cartridge Case, Propellant and Primer

Current Status

As of now bids have been submitted by the three contenders in the fray which will be evaluated by the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) of India.

Subsequent to this field evaluation trials will held, followed by opening of commercial bids.

After this the contract negotiation with the Lowest Bidder (L1 Vendor) will be initiated, and then finally awarding of the contract.

In short, all this process will take about 2-4 years at the least.