By N. C. Bipindra
New Delhi: India is planning to hand over operations of its Army Base Workshop (ABW) in Delhi Cantonment to the private corporate with experience handling operations at industrial units.
The move is one of the recommendations from the Lieutenant General D. B. Shekatkar panel and the Army has come out with a Request for Information (RFI) in this regard seeking responses from interested corporates by June 1.
The plan is to allow the private sector corporates to undertake operations of the 505 Army Base Workshop under the newly launched ‘Government-Owned, Corporate-Operated’ (GOCO) model, according to the RFI document.
Unde the GOCO scheme, Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSUs) and Ordnance Factories are not eligible to participate in the project. The private bidder will be required to carry out the overhaul of T-72 and T-90 tanks, repair the T-72 and T-90 Class B rotables including engine and Base repair of major and minor assemblies of tank T-72 and T-90. The bidder would be required to perform these activities with optimum processes and best practices for tank overhaul/ repair.
The ABWs are an important part of the industrial base of Indian defence forces. Eight ABWs were established during the Second World War to carry out repairs and overhaul of weapons, vehicles and equipment to keep the Indian Army operationally ready. These ABWs play important role in reset and regeneration of combat capability of Army.
The ABWs carry out base repairs and overhaul of weapons, vehicles and equipment to keep the Indian Army operationally ready both during peace and war. They also undertake manufacture and indigenisation of spares.
“In a bid to enhance the combat potential of the armed forces, a Committee of Experts (CoE) under the Chairmanship of Lt Gen D. B. Shekatkar (Retd), was constituted in 2016 to identify and recommend methods to meet the objective of an agile but effective military to meet current and future threats that the country faces,” the RFI said.
Based on the recommendations of this committee, a decision has been taken by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to outsource the functioning of the ABWs to private sector players towards operating the workshop in the GOCO model.
The 505 ABW at Delhi Cantonment is to be the first ABW to be put on the GOCO Model. The 505 ABW has historically overhauled and carried out Base repairs of tanks as well as engines and major/minor assemblies of tanks.
It currently overhauls 70 of the T-72 tanks annually and its associated engine, and assemblies. The 505 ABW is scheduled to start all these activities for tank T-90 from the financial year 2020-21. Spares required for the overhaul activity are currently sourced from Ordnance Factories, DPSUs and imported from Original Equipment Manufacturers.