Army enlists Bengaluru-based company for specialist sights used by forces overseas – ThePrint

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New Delhi: The military has placed orders with an Indian company for specialist sights as part of emergency purchases to aid some of its elite units operating in both urban and border warfare, ThePrint has learned.

Sources within the defense and security establishment said the order for two sets of sights in an ongoing rush of emergency purchases was placed “recently”.

One of the contracts is for around 600 pieces of multifunctional thermal imaging binoculars for target acquisition and the other for the multi-mission sight, which can be mounted on the helmet as well as the weapon. The order was placed with a company based in Bengaluru, Tonbo Imaging.

Sources also said that the contract was worth over Rs 100 crore and that the purchase was made by the Infantry Directorate, adding that while the Northern Command had previously purchased any of these sights for its soldiers in small batches, this time the army headquarters does. this.

They also said there would be a larger supply order if the systems, which are due to be delivered in 12 months, were performing as expected.


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What are multi-mission sites

Multi-mission sights are lighter and more suitable for close combat.

“The particularity of this product is that it can go on the helmet and also on a weapon at the same time. Weighing around 300g, the soldier can remove it from the helmet with a single click and mount it on a weapon instantly, ”a source explained.

Tonbo Imaging is one of the few companies in the world to manufacture such systems. Some of their products are deployed on the Real Line of Control (LAC) during the ongoing stalemate in Ladakh for surveillance operations.

How the military discovered Tonbo Imaging

The products of the company – which exports sights and other systems to more than two dozen countries and are used by some special forces, including those of Israel and France – have been used by the Indian armed forces for a few years. .

For example, during the 2016 surgical strikes, special forces personnel used thermal sights purchased from the Indian firm.

Incidentally, the company was discovered by the Indian armed forces following a joint exercise with NATO ten years ago. The US military used weapons equipped with Tonbo systems.

“It came from an engineering center in Bangalore,” they told the Indians. It was then that the army contacted us. Five countries were buying our technology before India bought it from us, ”said Arvind Lakshmikumar, one of the founders of Tonbo Imaging. mint in 2019.

When the company started its business operations around 2012, it focused on the global market. Industry sources said that Lakshmikumar’s previous work with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) helped him gain product recognition early on in the US market.

The company has come a long way. Earlier this year he won a contract with Bharat Dynamics Ltd to indigenize new missile homing heads for the Indian Army’s anti-tank guided missile program.

Some of the recent drone systems ordered by the Indian Armed Forces also incorporate Tonbo optical systems.

Earlier this year, Tonbo Imaging became the leading company in the Defense India Startup Challenge as part of the government’s Innovation for Defense Excellence (iDEX) initiative to modernize the BMP 2, India’s infantry fighting vehicle.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)


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