Indian Army's newly-acquired Howitzer damaged by faulty indigenously-built shell
The first batch of the US howitzers were inducted into the Indian Army in May. Photograph: (Others)
One of the two Howitzer artillery guns recently procured from the US suffered a damage to its barrell after a defective high explosive shell manufactured by the Defence Ministry's Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) exploded.
The M-777 ultra-light howitzer was damaged while being tested at the Rajasthan's Pokhran range on September 2, reports quoted army sources as saying.
The shells exited the barrel in multiple pieces, causing the accident, a source said. No injuries were reported.
A joint investigation team of the Indian Army and BAE Systems, the manufacturers of the howitzer, is probing the incident.
A media outlet reported that this is the third time in four months that the barrell of an artillery gun being tested by the Army has been damaged by defective 155 millimetre shells sourced from the OFB.
In May and June the barrels of the indigenous Dhanush artillery gun were also damaged by faulty shells, the report said.
The first batch of US howitzers were inducted into the Indian Army in May, the first time that India procured the artillery guns after the Bofors scandal nearly 30 years ago.
Two of the 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers, manufactured by BAE systems, arrived in India from the US in May.
India has struck a government-to-government deal for 145 howitzers with the US at a cost of around $700 million.
The M-777 howitzers, already in service with the US, Canadian and Australian armies, will be deployed along the India-China border.
Capable of being lifted by helicopters, they are expected to provide flexibility to the army in high-altitude operations.