155mm howitzer

The Indian Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is planning to conduct new trials of the domestically manufactured 155mm Bofors howitzer in February or March 2014.

The electronically upgraded indigenous variant of the Swedish 155mm Bofors howitzer had burst during trials at the Pokhran range in Rajasthan, in August 2013, The Times of India reports.

An undisclosed source was quoted by the news agency as saying that the faults have been rectified following the barrel burst.

”The fourth and the fifth prototypes have undergone `internal firing tests’ in Balasore over the last couple of months. Now, the guns are being readied for the trials,” the source said.

"The faults have been rectified following the barrel burst."

Around 114 Bofors howitzers are being manufactured by Jabalpur-based OFB as part of a INR12.6bn ($200m) contract using the designs obtained under transfer of technology (ToT) provisions in the controversial INR14.7bn ($227m) contract awarded to Bofors in March 1986 for supply of 410 howitzers.

The OFB has electronically upgraded the guns to 45 calibre from the original 39 calibre, giving the new howitzer a 38km range compared to the 30km of the original Bofors 155mm Howitzer field gun, according to the news agency.

The Indian Army, which has a requirement for 414 howitzers, has not inducted a single 155mm gun in the past three decades since the infamous Bofors scandal.

Also called as Haubits 77, the Field Howitzer 77 (FH77) is a Swedish 155 mm howitzer, and is available in two versions, namely Haubits 77 A with a sliding block mechanism and the FH77 B export version with an interrupted screw breech.

Image: Bofors 155mm howitzer of the Indian Army. Photo: courtesy of Hemantphoto79.

Defence Technology