The first artillery gun imported by India in over three decades has been badly damaged after a round manufactured by India’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) exploded, making this the third time in four months that a prototype artillery gun being tested by the Indian Army has suffered barrel damage by defective 155 millimetre high explosive rounds obtained from the OFB.
An M-777 ultra-light Howitzer being tested in Rajasthan suffered damage to its barrel earlier this month when a shell fired from it fragmented. No personnel testing the weapon were injured but a team of investigators from the Indian Army and BAE Systems, the manufacturers of the Howitzer, is probing the incident.
The Howitzers being tested were among the first two such guns imported by the Indian Army as part of a 700 million dollar deal between India and the United States for 145 M-777s. The gun, which can be slung under a helicopter, is meant to be deployed at high-altitude, specifically along the Chinese border.
This isn’t the first time that the Indian Army has had problems with ammunition provided by India’s OFB. In two separate incidents in May and July, the barrels of two prototypes of the Dhanush artillery gun were also damaged by faulty rounds. The Dhanush is based on the Bofors gun design and mechanism and can strike targets 38 kilometers away. The Indian Army plans to get 414 of these, each reportedly costing 140 million Indian rupees.