The Indian Army's two new mountain divisions located on the Indo-China border will take delivery of the remaining 50 old generation 105 light field guns (LFGs) under a contract from the gun carriage factory (GCF) by the end of 2012.
A GCF Jabalpur senior official was quoted by Times of India as saying that the company was awarded a contract in May 2010 for the supply of a total of 150 units of 105-LFGs to the army over a period of three years. The company has completed the deliveries of 100 units to date.
The guns have a range of 18km and are expected to be deployed as a stop-gap solution with the mountain divisions on the eastern front in the wake of persistent delays in the procurement of advanced 155mm ultra light howitzers.
Independent defence analyst colonel Uday Singh Rathore said that the howitzers provide a higher trajectory and are the ideal choice in a mountainous frontier, as the field guns seems less lethal in achieving the same trajectory, leading to a compromise in the range.
"The Chinese are known for better defences and bunkers, and a 105 shell may not have the desired impact on certain armoured vehicles too," Rathore added.
However, retired director general of artillery, lieutenant general, Vinay Shanker said the procurement of howitzers is a lengthy process, and the delivery would take around five to six years following the contract award.
"The 105 LFGs can be replaced by the howitzers when they arrive," Shanker added.
The Indian army has been planning to purchase a total of 140 howitzers since 2007 and had shortlisted Singapore-based ST Kinetics for the contract, only to later blacklist the company following a bribery scandal.