L&T and Rosoboronexport are now in direct competition to supply 100 self-propelled howitzers to the Indian Army in a deal expected to be worth over Rs 2,000 crore.
The contest to supply the howitzers to the Army and the trials of the two guns are slated to begin in June-July time-frame this year, according to reports.
The guns are being procured by the Army as part of its more than Rs 20,000-crore artillery modernisation programme, which has been stuck after the bofors gun deal scandal, reported PTI.
Not since the howitzer scandal of 1986 has India procured a single new artillery gun. The gun offered by L&T is said to have been built and developed in collaboration with South Korean Samsung Techwin and is based on its "K9 Thunder" self-propelled Howitzer.
After the trial phase gets over by early next year following the winter evaluation of the guns, the Army will find out the lowest bidder and include the chosen guns in five
regiments of its artillery units, the report added.
Under its artillery modernisation plan, the Army envisages induction of 2,814 guns of different types from both indigenous and foreign sources.
India also has plans to procure some 145 ultra light howitzers to be deployed in mountainous borders with China and Pakistan from the US under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal expected to be finalized soon between the two countries.
The Indian ministry of defence (MoD) has apparently cleared all the pending queries on the manufacturer of the M-777 ultra-light Howitzers - regarding the proposed acquisition for 145 of these artillery guns, but the deal with the US through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme will not be inked yet. According to various reports, the deal may not be signed until a new government is in place later this year
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