Bofors ghost finally buried, 155mm howitzers coming

Bofors ghost finally buried, 155mm howitzers coming

The Bofors jinx has finally been broken after 30 years. After the infamous Bofors scandal of the mid-1980s torpedoed all its artillery modernisation plans, the Army will begin inducting its first modern 155mm howitzers from mid-2017 onwards.Defence ministry sources said on Wednesday that the cabinet committee on security , chaired by PM Narendra Modi, has cleared the acquisition of 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers from the US+ in a government-to-government deal worth $737 million (almost Rs 5,000 crore).

The M-777 deal, which has a 30% offset clause, will now be inked within the next two to three weeks. “The Pentagon’s letter of offer and acceptance (LoA) to India is valid till November 20, but it can be extended for another 10-15 days,” said a source. TOI had earlier reported that the LoA for the M-777 deal, which the two governments have been negotiating since 2009-2010, had expired once again on November 7.There was a scramble by the two sides after that to extend the LoA’s validity.

Interestingly, the M-777 howitzers are manufactured by BAE Systems, which now owns the original Swedish Bofors company .

Of the 145 M-777 howitzers, 120 will be “assembled, integrated and tested” in India with BAE Systems selecting Mahindra as its business partner here. The first two howitzers will be delivered within six months of the contract being inked, with the others to follow at the rate of two per month.
Source: TOI

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