New Delhi: Against the backdrop of a freeze on procurement of Tatra trucks, the Armed Forces have started looking for alternative vehicles to equip them with their missile systems. In view of Defence Ministry's decision to put on hold the procurement of Tatra trucks pending the CBI probe into allegations of bribery by former Army Chief Gen VK Singh, several key missile projects of the Army and the Air Force have been held up.
The armed forces are looking at trucks being offered by manufacturers from Russia and Belarus including the Volat trucks being offered by a Belarusian firm, defence sources said.
Recently, a meeting under Director General (Acquisition) of the Defence Ministry was held with all stakeholders to discuss the issue, they said.
Due to ban on Tatras, several projects including the procurement of land-based version of supersonic cruise missile BrahMos for the IAF and the Army remained stalled along with projects to supply Pinaka missile regiments to the land forces.
If the trucks offered by these firms are accepted, they would be subjected to field trials by the forces and integrated with the missile systems to be put on them. More than 7,000 Tatra trucks are in service with the armed forces and after the controversy came to light, the Services are also facing issues with their maintenance and repair.
In March 2012, Gen VK Singh had levelled allegations that he was offered a Rs 14 crore bribe by a retired Lt Gen to clear a file related to the procurement of more than 600 Tatra trucks.
After the allegations, Defence Minister AK Antony ordered a CBI probe into it to verify the charges levelled by the former chief and procurement of Tatras was put on hold.