Faulty Indian Ammunition Caused Army M777 Gun Explosion

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An explosion of Indian Army’s new long-range ultra-light (ULH) howitzer M-777 earlier this month was due to faulty ammunition, according to a preliminary investigation.

The barrel of the US-manufactured gun had exploded when it was firing ammunition on September 2 in Pokhran.

A preliminary inquiry has found that the explosion took place due to faulty ammunition supplied by India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and further probe into the matter was on, the sources told PTI.

However, OFB representative has denied the ammunition to be the exact cause stating “the quality of the shell is not the only reason”. OFB spokesperson Uddipan Mukherjee was quoted as saying, “Any such failure is attributable to a complex phenomena pertaining to internal ballistics as the shell moves at a very high speed inside the barrel”.

Without specifically commenting on the findings of the probe, Mukherjee said ammunition used in the M-777 gun had undergone the required quality tests.

The field trials of the 155 mm, 39-calibre guns manufactured by BAE systems were being carried out at Pokhran in Rajasthan.  The barrel of the gun was damaged in the explosion.

The Army had received the howitzers as part of an order for 145 guns. Three more guns are to be supplied to the Army in September 2018 for training.

Thereafter, induction will commence from March 2019 onwards with five guns per month till the complete consignment is received by mid-2021.