NEW DELHI --- The Indian Air Force (IAF) launched a $1.5 billion limited tender in the last week of December for the acquisition of new-generation close-in weapons systems (CIWS) to provide a replacement for its aging Swedish Bofors L-70 and Russian-legacy Zu-23-2B air-defense guns. The tender issued is restricted to domestic Indian firms only under the "Buy and Make (Indian)" procurement category.
The aim is to procure 244 air-defense guns along with 228 fire-control/search radars and 204,000 programmable bullets under what is the first air-defense program issued to Indian companies for domestic manufacture. Each unit will be short-range, with the guns having a range of 3.5 kilometers and a capability of firing 200 rounds of ammunition per minute. Each CIWS unit will be used to target enemy aircraft, helicopters, drones and cruise missiles.
The goal is to bring the new CIWS units into IAF service within seven years and integrate them with air command-and-control systems used for air traffic and surveillance management purposes.
Domestic companies expected to bid on the tender include Bharat Forge Limited, Punj Lloyd, Tata Power SED, Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Defense, and Mahindra Defense Systems, plus state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).