New Delhi: The country’s biggest engineering company Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) has tied up with US weapons firm Raytheon Co. to upgrade the Indian Army’s T-72 tanks.
The two firms have submitted a joint proposal for working on the Indian Army’s main battle tank, which was originally designed by the Russians.
Raytheon will provide infrared imaging sights and electronics for the tank, L&T said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Indian company will provide fire control systems, sensors, and integrate technologies on the tank’s platform, the statement added.
The L&T-Raytheon partnership was made keeping in mind India’s 2006 defence procurement policy, which makes it mandatory for foreign companies selling military or aircraft equipment to buy from local vendors at least 30% of the value in orders of more than Rs300 crore.
The Indian Army has 2,418 T-72 tanks and has earmarked around Rs5,000 crore for their modernization.
India is also looking at inducting a new generation of battle tanks. The contenders are the Arjun main battle tanks developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Russian-made T-90 tanks.
“We do not see Arjun and T-90s as competitors. Both are good tanks,” defence production secretary R.K. Singh said last week. “After the completion of the test trials by March we will look at a mix of both.”
India is the third largest importer of fighter planes and tanks and is among the top 10 countries in terms of its defence expenditure.
India’s defence outlay for 2009-10 is Rs1.42 trillion.