After receiving the first set of guns in May 2017, the Army is now conducting extensive field trials for Howitzer guns at Pokhran firing range.
According to PTI, the test-firing is aimed at collating and determining various critical data like trajectory, speed and frequency of fire of the M-777 A-2 Ultra-Light Howitzer Guns that the Army purchased from US after 30 years of Bofors scandal.
The trials will continue till September for formation of a firing table which is vital for induction process. Once inducted, these weapons will be deployed on the Indo-China border. These guns will form a formidable wall on the Indo-China border as strong presence of artillery can defend higher posts in the mountains.
The 159 mm, 39-calibre guns will fire Indian ammunition. A total of 145 guns will be supplied by the US and the next batch is scheduled to arrive in September 2018. Guns are likely to be inducted in 2019 and will keep on coming till mid-2021.
An army official commented:
The trials have been going on smoothly and various data are being collected for formation of the firing table.
The deal for 145 Howitzer guns with US cost around Rs.5,000 crores. These guns will revamp the declining and obsoleting artillery in the Army. As the Chinese continue to flex muscles, these guns are much needed to tackle the unpredictable dragon across the border.
Twenty-five guns will reach India in fly-away condition while the rest will be assembled in India by the partnership between BAE Systems and Mahindra Defence. The BAE Systems had proposed Indian government to buy guns that can be air-lifted ten years back.