Wednesday, July 28, 2010

155-mm gun contract: DRDO enters the fray

With the international procurement of the 155-mm towed gun for the Indian Army dogged by controversy and failure, India’s Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) has made the potentially game-changing decision to jump into the fray. The DRDO’s most productive laboratory, the Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune, could soon become the hub for developing an indigenous 155-mm towed gun, with the DRDO partnering private industry giants such as Bharat Forge and Larsen & Toubro.

 A K Antony informed Parliament that the Central Bureau of Investigation had recommended the blacklisting of four companies that had been involved, at various stages of this procurement: Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK); Germany’s Rheinmetall; Israel Military Industries (IMI); and another Israeli company, Soltam. Denel, a South African company, had been blacklisted earlier; and the only other gun on offer, the BAE Systems FH-77B-05 howitzer, is a modernised version of the controversial Bofors gun.

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