Artillery guns that the Indian Army had recently acquired from a United States-based manufacturer were damaged during a field trial in Rajasthan’s Pokhran firing range, PTI reported on Tuesday. India had received two M-777 Ultra Lightweight Howitzers from BAE Systems in May, nearly 30 years after the Bofors howitzers were added to the Indian arsenal.
An inquiry has been ordered into the incident, which is believed to have taken place on September 2. “During the firing, the projectile which was fifth of the series, exited the barrel in multiple pieces, causing the accident,” an unidentified official told PTI.
A spokesperson for BAE Systems acknowledged the “irregularity” recorded during the field trial. “We are working closely with the Indian Army and the US government to explore the incident,” the spokesperson told the news agency.
In June 2016, the Defence Ministry had sanctioned the proposal to purchase the US-made ultra-light howitzers from BAE Systems. The deal was finalised in November 2016.
India will receive the first 25 guns in flyaway condition. The remaining 120 will be put together at the Assembly Integration and Test facility. The government has partnered with Mahindra to assemble the weapons.