Army faces gap in key capability till 2026

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 1/13/2021 11:41:11 AM

New Delhi The Army is likely to face a key capability gap when it comes to artillery modernisation, with best case scenario calculations showing that a sizeable number of much needed modern howitzers will only arrive by 2026. While efforts are on to bridge the gap by exploring additional numbers of the homedeveloped Pinaka rocket system as well as the K9 Vajra mobile artillery among others, the prevailing situation with China in eastern Ladakh has raised concerns in the system. Defence ministry sources aware of the Army’s projections say that if the procurement process does not face any further hurdles the home-developed Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAG) are still some time away from active service. Concern has also been raised on the Dhanush 155 mm towed after the gun suffered a failure of the recoil systems during a Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) trial at Balasore in mid-November last year. A board of inquiry has been ordered into the incident. Officials say the complete order for 150 modern ATAGS guns is likely to be completed only by 2026, after the gun suffered an unexpected barrel burst late last year during trials, which left four soldiers injured. While the cause of the failure is being investigated, the next round of trials are expected to be completed by June-July this year. As per projections, the formal Request for Proposals will follow successful trials and the fastest the system can move to the contract negotiating stage will be in May 2022. If this stage is processed on time — history shows that in most cases it is a protracted process — the Army will move to the next stage of First of Production Model (FOPM) trials. These will be a real test for the production variant of the guns and are expected to take a year,


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