Fill The Operational Void

With work on the Union Budget 2018 to start soon, the defence services are prioritising their allocations. Despite the lion’s share of the annual defence allocation amongst the three services, the Army is the most hard-pressed to rationalise its funds.

Given its increased or rather bloated manpower, the changed nature of warfare and annual financial obligations on account of acquired capabilities, the Army is left with pittance to balance between its immediate weapons’ requirement and indigenous support systems (force multipliers) like the Battlefield Management System (BMS). Consequently, the BMS, though an asset for tactical operations, has, to the disappointment of the indigenous defence industry, been rejected by the Army brass.

At today’s prices, the BMS for the entire Army, to be provided by 2025, is to cost upwards of Rs 50,000 crore. Being developed by two consortia — Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division) and Larsen & Toubro and Bharat Electronic Limited and Rolta India — the total cost for their prototype each (meant for final selection) built under the high-priority ‘Make’ category is Rs 5,000 core. The Army, according to reports, was required to pay back Rs 1,000 crore over five years as development cost of this project from its kitty. With the Army having excluded the BMS from its acquisitions list, the final decision rests with the Defence Acquisition Council headed by the Defence Minister.   Read More…

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