15th October 2013 newindianexpress.com (PTI)
NEW DELHI - A barrel of the indigenous - version of the Bofors howitzers burst during their trials in the Pokharan range, delaying plans to induct these artillery guns into the Army.
The Defence Acquisition Council had recently approved the procurement of 144 such guns by the Army which are being manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board, Jabalpur.
During the recent trials of the gun in Pokharan, the barrel of the gun burst when the Army was conducting the user trials for approving the gun for induction in the Army, sources said here.
The OFB has now been asked to carry out a defect identification inquiry (DII) by the Defence Ministry to ascertain the reasons behind the bursting of the barrel during the crucial trials, they said.
The user trials are carried out by the Services for approving the product being tested for induction.
The gun has been performing very well so far but the mishap will delay the user trials for another three to four months, they said.
Defence Minister AK Antony has been taking personal interest in the development of this programme and has asked both the Department of Defence Production and the Army to cooperate fully for making it successful.
The gun design, provided as part of technology transfer, has been gathering dust due to the taint associated with Bofors in the light of the payoffs scam.
If successful, the project would save the country millions of rupees and give the Indian Army much needed firepower.
The Army has failed to procure even a single piece of artillery after the Bofors scandal erupted in 1980s. All attempts to procure howitzers have had to be cancelled due to one reason or another.