New RFP Expected For Indian Wheeled Guns

The Indian defense ministry is expected to issue the request for
proposals (RFP) for the third time for 140 wheeled guns within the next
two weeks.


Trials will be held for the same guns that participated in earlier
rounds to evaluate performance in extreme hot and cold conditions in
the harsh desert terrains of Rajasthan and Ladakh. Firing rate and
command and control will be assessed
.

Bidders being named include Kerametal of Slovakia, with its Zuzana gun, and Germany’s Rheinmetall RWG-52.

The latest development, however, comes amid ongoing confusion and
allegations regarding so-called “blacklisting” of some contenders in
the past (Aerospace DAILY, April 2). For instance, Singapore
Technologies Kinetics was not invited to participate in the RFP after
being named in a report related to an Ordnance Factories Board (OFB)
scandal. But Rheinmetall, which was rejected on another tender for
being involved in the same OFB report, was called to participate in
trials for bi-modular charges in Pokhran, and now for the wheeled guns.

Rheinmetall recently denied any wrongdoing regarding the acquisition of
defense contracts in India, saying it had broken no rules. A
Rheinmetall spokesman says it has not received any notification as to
the basis of the corruption allegations.

“With regard to future projects, as well, the company is eager to clear this matter up,” a Rheinmetall representative says.

Armed with 155-mm. ordnance, the 48-ton Rheinmetall Wheeled Gun
(RWG)-52 is designed to be a mobile 6×6 artillery system for flexible
fire-support operations. The vehicle has a maximum road speed of 80
kph. (50 mph.), and can reach speeds of up to 70 kph. when operating
off-road. Its strategic range is 700 km. (435 mi.) and its tactical
range is 300 km. A built-in tire pressure management system further
enhances the vehicle’s off-road performance, according to a Rheinmetall
spokesman.

Its autonomous turret is equipped with the L/52 Rheinmetall gun used in
Germany’s PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer in service with the armed
forces of Germany, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands, the latter having
deployed it in combat operations in Afghanistan.

While BAE Systems’ Archer does not fit the Indian army requirements for
the wheeled gun bid, the company has submitted a response to the latest
request for information for towed 155-mm. howitzers, following previous
tenders that were canceled due to the inability of other potential
suppliers to meet the requirements.

The company’s offer will be based on the FH77 B05 155-mm. howitzer, and
a significant number will be manufactured in India to meet the specific
needs of the Indian army.

BAE representative Guy Douglas told AVIATION WEEK earlier that the
155-mm. FH77B05 howitzer was the best choice for India since it has
proven itself in previous trials. “It is the big sister of the FH77 B02
that performed well in the Kargil conflict, so its pedigree is
unquestionable,” according to the company spokesman.

Meanwhile, BAE’s M777 ultra lightweight howitzer is now in the U.S. foreign military sales process for purchase by India.
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