Desi Bofors to plug gap in Army

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Sam2012, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Sam2012

    Sam2012 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Desi Bofors to plug gap in Army’s long-range firepower

    NEW DELHI: The desi version of the original Swedish 155mm Bofors howitzers, which proved its worth by wreaking havoc against Pakistani intruders during the 1999 Kargil conflict, is now all set to plug huge operational gaps in the long-range, high-volume firepower of the Army.

    The defence ministry has placed an order worth over Rs 1,260-crore for acquisition of 114 of the artillery field guns developed by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), which has used the designs obtained under the transfer of technology (ToT) provisions in the infamous Rs 1,437-crore Bofors contract of 1986 to develop the new guns.

    The order is in tune with defence minister A K Antony's latest directive, issued in the aftermath of the bribery controversy in the VVIP helicopters' contract, for a greater thrust on indigenization to avoid scams.

    It will also serve to "exorcise" the almost three-decade-old Bofors ghost - which in later years got reinforced by scandals around other global artillery manufacturers like South African Denel, Israeli Soltam and Singapore Technology Kinetics (STK) - to ensure the Army failed to induct even a single 155mm howitzer since the mid-1980s.

    Under the original Bofors contract, India had obtained ToT to indigenously manufacture the howitzers after inducting 410 guns but the ensuing scandal, which had led to the fall of the Rajiv Gandhi government, had put paid to all such plans.

    "Now, the OFB has worked on the original drawings and electronically upgraded the guns to 45-calibre from the original 39-calibre. The new howitzers have a 38-km range compared to the 30-km of the Bofors gun," said an official.

    OFB has developed two prototypes of the 155mm\45-calibre guns, one with 68% indigenous parts and the other with 46%, that have been "satisfactorily tested in validation firings" in Pokran and Balasore over the last five months.

    The "letter of intent" for the 114 howitzers was placed on the OFB "a couple of days ago" to ensure it can begin bulk production after the "user-trials" in June.

    The Army has projected an initial requirement for 414 of these guns, each of which will cost over Rs 11 crore, as part of its long-delayed artillery modernization programme.

    Interestingly, the other artillery project on the verge of being inked — the $647 million contract for acquisition of 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers (ULH) from the US - also has a strong Bofors angle.

    Though the ULH deal will be a direct government-to-government deal, which is said to preclude kickbacks, the 155mm\39-calibre M-777s are manufactured by BAE Systems, which now owns the original Bofors firm.

    "It should be signed by April-May. An Indian `maintainability evaluation team' visited the US from February 8 to 25 to examine the howitzers," said the official. The air-mobile howitzers, capable of being swiftly deployed in forward areas by helicopters and aircraft, are primarily meant for the high-altitude areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh to counter China.

    The other 155mm\52-calibre artillery projects, in the overall Rs 30,000 crore artillery modernization plan, include the purchase of 100 self-propelled tracked guns from a foreign vendor and the development of 814 mounted gun systems through a joint venture with the private sector.

    But the biggest one is the over Rs 12,000-crore project to buy 400 towed artillery guns, followed by indigenous manufacture of another 1,180 such guns after transfer of technology from the foreign vendor. This project has been derailed at least a couple of times in the past, the last time after STK was blacklisted due to the corruption scandal against former OFB chairman Sudipto
     
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  3. ALBY

    ALBY Elite Member Elite Member

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    I wish army will field the OFFB made howisters immediately and unlike some other so called innovations of OFB may this one become a success.
     
  4. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Electronically upgraded caliber??? :confused:

     
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  5. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    hope they will buy more guys..............
     
  6. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Like digital zoom!!!
     
  7. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    WTF mate! :facepalm:

     
  8. Sam2012

    Sam2012 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Apart from this DRDO is developing 155mm 52 Calibre towed howitzer with the help of Private gaints like TATA, Mahindra , L&T & Bharat forge

    may be after 2015-16 India will have diverse variety of 155mm howitzer in its inventory shrugging of BOFORS GHOST which hounted us for 25+ years

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. vram

    vram Regular Member

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    ROFL :rofl:!! So all these corruption scams atleast forced some thing good some where . forced the army to go for a Desi Version. Else I am pretty Sure there would have been an RFP followed by thousand stages of biding and negotiations while we would have had endless conversation here of whether to go for Desi ya Videsi mal.
    While the army at the same time would have asked for testing of the Desi Models in all known conditions existing in planet earth from bombing in Antartica conditions to rajastan in peak summer and seeing if this gun can drive around by it self, think itself and fire everything itself!!
    Ofcourse once desi mal has been rejected because some screw was loose some where in the peak summer in desert at around 50 Deg cel the supper dooper sophisticated gun from some phoren company will be bought and ofcourse some General's nephew's first cousin or some brother- in - law's brother will ensure that the requirement conditions are dropped or made more reasonable(humanly acheivable :rolleyes:) again.By the time it will be another Decade.


    Good news anyways.Even if this OFB product is not 100% percent perfect we will have to start some where to get the level of availability and perfection to higher standards. And this improvement cycle be started as soon as the production starts flowing. No Investment then nothing.
     

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