Will India's Gun Jinx Be Broken This Year?

Since the Bofors scam of 1986, the Indian Army has been led by three chiefs from the Regiment of Artillery -- General SF Rodrigues, S Padmanabhan and, most recently, Deepak Kapoor. Not one of them was able to break the ludicrous, politicised embargo on inducting new heavy artillery into the Army. In effect, the Army hasn't added a single howitzer to its arsenal in 25 years. It has multiple competitions running, some of them meandering for much of the last decade, but the shortpoint stays -- the army hasn't added one single piece of heavy artillery in a quarter century. Which is why, current Chief of Army Staff, General Vijay Singh's assertion two days ago that new guns would definitely enter service with the army before the year is out, is thunderingly good news.

The only gun that can conceivably enter service with the Indian Army in that timeframe is the 155-mm/39-cal BAE Systems M777 ultra-light howitzer (ULH). While India has been looking at the gun since 2008, it was in early 2010 that it officially requested a foreign military sale of 145 M777s from the US government. Looks like that's going through.

Photo ©Canadian Army

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