BEL, Tata consortiums win Rs50,000 crore defence contract

Defence ministry selects consortium as development agency for battlefield management system project

Rolta India is an information technology solutions company.
Rolta India is an information technology solutions company.

Mumbai: State-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and information technology (IT) solutions company Rolta India Ltd on Thursday said the ministry of defence had selected their consortium as a development agency for the battlefield management system (BMS) project worth over Rs.50,000 crore.

The BMS project, categorized as a “Make” programme under the defence procurement procedure (DPP), will be one of the largest indigenous solutions offered to Indian defence, Bharat Electronics said in a statement.

This project is meant to deliver command and control capabilities to the fighting echelons, operating at the forward edge of the tactical battle area at the battalion and combat group levels, it said.

These systems typically track the location of units and pass on data so that friendly units and command centres can keep track of what’s going on.

On Thursday, in a separate statement, Tata Power Co. Ltd said its strategic engineering division (Tata Power SED), in a consortium with Larsen and Toubro Ltd, is one of the two selected development agencies for the BMS project. Tata Power SED leads the consortium. The government has asked both Bharat Electronics and Tata Power to start working on the design of the BMS, a Bharat Electronics executive said. “The details of sharing of work and other modalities are not known at this point of time,” he said, requesting anonymity.

The BMS project will be one of the largest solutions to be indigenously manufactured for Indian defence forces, Bharat Electronics said in a statement.

The defence ministry expects the defence budget to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 8% to touch $64 billion in 2019-20, according to KPMG India, a consultancy firm.

The growth will primarily be driven by capital expenditure—the component of the defence budget used for the creation of assets and expenditure on procurement of new equipment.

India will see a total defence budget allocation of $620 billion between 2013-14 and 2019-22, of which 50% will be on capital expenditure, according to a February report by lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and financial services company Centrum Capital Ltd. The annual opportunity for Indian firms—both state-owned and private—is expected to reach $41 billion by fiscal year 2022 and $168 billion cumulatively, it said.

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