Monday, 26 June, 2017

Indian Army gets M777 howitzers 30 years after Bofors scandal

After 3 decades of Bofors scandal Army to get its first artillery guns India has bought 145 M777 ultra light artillery guns at a cost of about $750 million from the US
Tracy Craig | 18 May, 2017, 22:26

The first two of the M777 Ultralight Howitzers landed here on Thursday, bringing an end to the Indian Army's three decade wait for a new artillery gun.

They will reportedly be test- fired at Rajasthan's Pokhran field firing range today.

The 145 M 777 purchase deal involves an expenditure of 700 million dollars.

A BAE Systems sposkesperson told IBTimes India: "The deal was to deliver the first of these howitzers within six months".

In December 2016, India signed the $737 million (about 4,700 crores) deal with the United States of America to purchase 145 M777 howitzers from the BAE Systems under a government-to-government contract. Moreover, BAE systems is a firm which manufactures guns.

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It said after the firing tables are ready, three more guns will be supplied in September, 2018 for training. The scandal had badly hit the artillery modernisation of the Indian Army as all deals for this goal were put on hold.

India last inducted the Swedish Bofors guns in the 1980s. The Bofors guns, which was found effective during the Kargil war, continue to be the mainstay. "During this event, the guns will fire 155 mm indigenous ammunition". It has a maximum range of 30 km.

"We continue to support the U.S. government in integrating its weapon systems with the Indian Army's artillery modernisation programme", an official from BAE Systems told PTI.

The arrival of the M-777 guns comes soon after the government also inked a Rs 4,366 crore contract with engineering conglomerate L&T for the supply of 100 self-propelled howitzers in collaboration with its South Korean technology partner Hanwha Tech Win. As the 39-calibre towed artillery gun made of titanium and aluminium alloys weighs only four tonnes, they can be transported under-slung on helicopters.

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