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India Army to buy 125 aerial targets annually from domestic vendors

File Photo: DRDO-developed Abhyas. For Representational Purposes Only.

New Delhi: To enable live firing practice of air defence weapons on simulated targets for its soldiers, the Indian Army has launched a search for Indian vendors to indigenously design and develop Manoeuvrable Expendable Arial Targets, which could manoeuvre like a real target.

The Directorate General of Army Air Defence has issued a tender on July 13 for buying 125 aerial targets of which 50 will go to the army and the rest 75 to the Indian Air Force. The procurement is envisaged on an annual basis, according to the Request for Proposal (tender, in common pralance) document seen by Defence.Capital recently. The last date for responding to the tender is Oct. 5.

The Indian Army employs a host of air defence weapons comprising of guns and surface-to-air missiles along with their associated Command, Control, and Support infrastructure to counter the air threats.

“The ultimate test of all crew lies in live firing of air defence weapons on simulated targets. One of the ideal targets for this requirement is a manoeuvrable expendable aerial targets,” the tender document said.

Post-formulation of Service Qualitative Requirement, the Acceptance of Necessity for the project was obtained on Nov. 7, 2017 and in-principle approvals for the aerial targets project was accorded on Feb. 26, 2018.

The prototype readiness by the Indian vendors was done on July 1, 2019. Following the tender of July 13 this year, user trials of the prototype will be scheduled and the lowest bidder among the vendors will be identified for the supply order.

The Indian Army expects the aerial targets to have a speed over 400 kmph. The maximum endurance should be over 30 minutes at Wide Open Throttle at sea level. The minimum and maximum altitude should be over 20 metres and 5,000 metres respectively.

The radio control range for the aerial targets should be at least 75 km. The system should be employable against Short Range, Medium Range and Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missiles.

The total cost of development of the two prototypes and procurement of 125 aerial targets along with associated equipment is estimated at Rs 62.5 crore ($8.34 million). The project is proposed under the ‘Make II‘ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure.

“The arial targets project is a path-breaking one among all services, as it is the first to reach the user-trial phase, and has been indigenously produced by Indian vendors under the ‘Make II’ category of the procurement procedure,” an Army Air Defence officer said.

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