Indian Army’s newly acquired M777 ultra-light howitzer was damaged after a 155mm artillery round misfired and exploded in the barrel during an exercise.
The gun was firing Indian ammunition in Rajasthan’s Pokhran ranges. “During the firing on September 2, the projectile, which was fifth of the series, exited the barrel in multiple pieces,” an army officer was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times Wednesday.
No one was injured.
The test-firing of the guns is primarily aimed at collating and determining various critical data like trajectory, speed and frequency of fire of the M-777 A-2 ULH which are expected to be mostly deployed along the border with China.
The 155 mm, 39-calibre guns will fire Indian ammunition. Three more guns will 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.
In July this year, India received the first two of 145 M777 ultra-light howitzers as part of the $750 million dollar contract signed with the US in November 2016.
Under the contract, 25 guns will come to India in a fly-away condition (two per month will be delivered), while 120 will be assembled at the proposed assembly integration and test facility for the weapon system in India in partnership with Mahindra Defence, located in Faridabad.
The Indian Army plans to use these Howitzers in defensive troop deployment spread across the country’s vast rugged terrain. The gun will come with laser inertial artillery pointing systems (LINAPS), maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services.