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BAE Bofors 155mm Artiliery Gun Back in Indian Artiliery Tender

The BAE Bofors 155mm  gun is back in the
competition for a record fourth time for a multi-billion dollar heavy
artillery gun order from the Indian Army.

BAE
Systems, the  owner of Bofors, has said that that it has
“submitted  to the Indian ministry of defence’s latest RFI
(request for information) for towed 155mm howitzers, following previous
tenders which were cancelled because of the inability of other
potential suppliers to meet the tender conditions.”
Along with its Indian partner, Mahindra
and Mahindra, the company has offered a version of the FH77 B05 155mm
howitzer. It says “a significant proportion will be manufactured in
India to meet the specific needs of the Indian Army.”

In
the last trial, which was cancelled by A.K. Antony’s defence ministry
in July, the Bofors gun and ST Kinetics’s iFH 2000 were the only guns
in the competition. 
Army
sources said the trial was cancelled because STK’s gun was not
calibrated to fire Indian ammunition. But STK sources say they were not
given the time sought to re-calibrate their weapon for the summer trial
in the Rajasthan desert.
The
tender was cancelled because STK’s disqualification made BAE Systems
the only vendor and the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) lays down that
procurement must be based on competition, defence ministry sources said.
The
guns — the Bofors GH 77 B05 and STK’s iFH 2000 — that the companies had
brought for the trials are still in India. The cancellation of the
tender pushed the Indian army’s field artillery modernisation
programme, already behind schedule by 10 years, at least two more years
behind.
Andrew
Gallagher managing director and chief executive of BAE Systems India
said, “BAE Systems is confident that the FH77 B05 is the best heavy
towed howitzer in the world today and meets the requirements of the
Indian Army”. The Indian Army used the earlier version of the howitzer
in the 1999 Kargil war.
The
army plans to buy and produce a total of 1,580 guns of the
155mm/52caliber category. For 23 years now, the army has not added a
single big gun to its arsenal since the Bofors FH77B02, contracted by
the Rajiv Gandhi government, raised a row over kickbacks.