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144 indigenous howitzers approved for Army: Antony

Defence Ministry has cleared a proposal to induct 144 indigenously-developed 155mm howitzers into the Army.

New Delhi: Defence Ministry has cleared a proposal to induct 144 indigenously-developed 155mm howitzers into the Army for which trials will be held later this year.

The 155mm artillery guns are being developed indigenously by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) in Jabalpur on the basis of Transfer of Technology of the controversial Swiss Bofors guns, which were inducted into the Army in late 1980s.

"The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared a proposal for production of 144 155mm guns (in the Army). Winter trials will take place in December and summer trials in June," Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters here.

He expressed hope that these trials would be successful "so that after 30 years, India can have upgraded 155mm guns."

The Defence Minister had recently visited Jabalpur to review the progress in the development of these guns.

The Army has not been able to induct even a single new piece of artillery gun in the last 25 years despite several attempts.

Asked about recent reports suggesting that the Defence Ministry was curbing the financial powers of the DRDO chief, Antony said, "That is not correct. We are in the process of delegation of more powers to the various wings of the Defence Ministry."

"When there is delegation of power, we have to set right things more systematically. It is not confined to DRDO or BrahMos but to entire Defence Ministry family. Out of our past experience, whenever there is more delegation, there should be more transparent systems. There should be check and balance," he said.

The Minister said efforts to bring in more accountability and transparency in financial management was for "common good and not for one person or one institution."


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