India new tender to replace L-70 and ZU-23-2 air defense guns

India 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.

India new tender to replace L-70 and ZU-23-2 air defense guns 925 001
Indian-made modernized version of L-70 Bofors showed at Defense and Security Exhibition in Thailand (Picture source Army Recognition)

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. E

ach 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).

The L/70 is an anti-aircraft gun 40mm caliber designed and manufactured by the Swedish Company Bofors which is now part of BAE Systems. The Bofors L/70 40mm is intended for engaging high speed air-craft flying at low altitude, its chief characteristics being high speeds of elevation and traverse combined with a high rate of fire. The gun is normally fired electrically from remote control. It can also be fired electrically from the gun position by means of the Bofors local power control. In case power supply fails, the gun can be operated purely mechanically from the mounting.

The Bofors L/70 40mm uses a single-barrel 40mm caliber. The rounds are loaded in 4 round clips, although most systems are fitted with a 26 round hopper. The cyclic rate of fire is 240 rpm and upgrade packages offer 300 rpm. The maximum effective range is 3 to 4 km. The Bofors L/70 40mm can fire a full range of ammunitions as the PFHE Mk2, HCHE, HE-T, APC-T, and P-T.

The ZU-23-2, also known as ZU-23, is a russian made towed 23 mm anti-aircraft twin-barreled automatic cannon. The latest upgraded version of this anti-aircraft gun system is fitted with new Electro Optical Firing System gives the gun the capability to engage aeral targets in day and night conditions. The ZU-23-2B is fitted with day and night camera, laser range finder and digital fire control computer. 

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