Giving a boost to indigenous artillery programme, the Indian Army has pledged to the DRDO that if it proves its 155 mm 52 calibre howitzers in trials, it will place orders for a minimum 150 guns.
We have handed over a letter to the DRDO conveying that if it proves its guns in user trials in a specific time frame, we will place orders for at least 150 guns, sources said to Defencenow.com.
DRDO's Pune-based ARDE is working on developing the 155 mm 52 calibre howitzer in view of the shortage of guns faced by the Indian Army.
The DRDO had started working on developing these guns in early part of the last decade but they stopped work after the Army issued a global tender for procuring 400 guns at a cost of rs 1,500 crore, they said.
The DRDO has told the Army that it already has the technology and required metallurgy for the project and would not need more than three years to come out with a world class howitzer.
The Army after a drought of 27 years is set to receive its first howitzers as a deal to procure 145 ultra-light howitzers gas been cleared by the Defence Ministry in a meeting held earlier this month.
The Army has also issued a global tender for 400 howitzers but that has run into trouble after major player BAE Systems backed out from the race saying the standards have been diluted in the fresh RFP and it would not be possible for it to compete with lower quality and cheaper gun systems.
The Army has a Field Artillery rationalisation plan under which it plans to spend rs 20000 crore for procuring several types of howitzers for increasing its firepower.