India's state-owned OFB has been awarded a contract to licence-build an additional 464 T-90S MBTs

India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a INR200 billion (USD2.8 billion) contract with the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to licence-build 464 additional T-90S main battle tanks (MBTs) for the Indian Army (IA).

OFB spokesperson Uddipan Mukherjee told Jane's on 11 November that under deal, which was signed five days earlier, the OFB's Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) at Avadi, in southern India, would complete delivery of the MBTs within four to five years.

Industry sources said the order is part of a series of earlier contracts agreed upon with the HVF in 2006-07 to licence-build 1,000 T-90Ss - designated 'Bhishma' in Indian service - under a transfer of technology agreement signed with Russia.

This program has faced recurring technological problems for several years, especially with regard to the MBT's 125 mm smoothbore gun barrel, which has resulted in extended delays and cost overruns. However, IA sources told Jane's that these glitches have now been resolved, with the latest order for 464 T-90S tanks meant to complete the previous agreement with HVF for the licensed production of 1,000 of these platforms.

The recently signed agreement is separate from the planned INR 134.48 billion acquisition of an equal number of T-90MS MBTs, all of which would be imported in kit form from Russian tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) for assembly by the HVF.

India's Committee on Security approved the T-90MS procurement in April, but no contract has yet to be signed. Industry sources said that the planned T-90MS acquisition also featured in discussions held in early November in Moscow during a meeting of the 9th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC), but pointed out that no deal has yet been reached.