India has been criticized for buying 10,000 Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) from Russia despite of the licensed missiles facility at the local Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).
The latest report of the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG), said, “Failure of BDL to supply the missiles intended by the Indian Army resulted in conclusion of a contract for import of 10,000 missiles at a cost of $188 million defeating the very objective of avoiding dependence on foreign supplier for the ammunition.”
Russia failed to transfer the technology to India, which kept BDL from absorbing the information on time and led to production delays, according to Defense news. However, a Russian diplomat here said all promised technologies for the advanced Konkus-M missile have been transferred to BDL.
However, the CAG report said BDL was slow in enhancing the production base for the Konkurs-M missiles.
“The Hyderabad-based defense public sector unit BDL planned to increase its production capacity from 3,000 to 4,500 missiles per year by 2012, and up to 6,000 missiles by 2013. In reality, the capacity was augmented by only 500 missiles per annum until February 2013.” the CAG report said
“The delay in supply created a capability gap in the Army to fight tanks fitted with [explosive reactive armor] panels, thereby impacting its operational preparedness,” the report added.
On the delays in production, a BDL official was quoted by Defense News saying that there were delays in transfer of technology, but added there was also a delay in giving orders to BDL from the service headquarters.
With the serious concerns raised by the CAG regarding BDL’s production capabilities, alternatives will have to be explored to meet the Army’s requirements.
An MoD official said the Indian Army’s initial requirement is about 24,000 ATGMs to arm its 356 infantry units, adding that this procurement will be completed by the end of the twelfth plan period in 2017.
India has also been negotiating with the United States for the purchase of Javelin ATGMs and with Israel for Spike ATGMs. MoD official also said the negotiations with the US have been stalled over technology transfer, while negotiations with Israel on the Spike are also on hold, but gave no reason.
The purchase of new generation of ATGMs worth $3 billion could be re-floated as a separate program by the end of the year.