New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has allowed private sector companies to take part in a tender to upgrade 300 M-46 artillery guns of the Army.
The meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister AK Antony approved a proposal in this regard.
Under the proposal, the Defence Ministry plans to upgrade the 300 M-46 howitzers from 130 mm to 155 mm guns systems.
Indian private sector companies would be competing with state-owned Ordnance Factory Board for the project.
Indian private sector companies such as Tata and L&T have successfully developed mounted 155 mm howitzers and are planning to offer them for trials to the Army for its requirements for artillery modernisation.
The upgrade of the 130 mm howitzers was stuck after the blacklisting of Israeli Soltam guns.
After the recent scams in the procurement of military hardware systems from abroad, the Defence Ministry has been working towards developing policies to promote indigenisation which includes encouraging the private sector in a big way.
The Defence Ministry also approved proposals under which the first right of refusal in defence tenders would be with the indigenous industry and procurement from abroad would be the last option.
The DAC also approved a proposal under which the status of Raksha Udyog Ratna (RUR) has been discontinued under which 12 private sector companies were to be selected and given opportunities in defence procurement process.
The RUR status was first proposed in the DPP-2006 but it could never take off due to opposition from local industry.