India to Finally Get New Artillery Pieces

The long running saga of attempts to purchase a new artillery howitzer for the Indian Army seems to be coming to an end. A process that stretched about two decades primarily due to corruption and contracting issues looks resolved as the South Asian nation formally requested of the United States the ability to purchase BAE Systems’ M177 gun.

The M177 is the standard towed howitzer used by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. It is capable of firing a variety of 155mm shells including the Excalibur guided round to fairly long ranges. It has seen heavy use in Iraq and Afghanistan. It makes a good choice for the Indian Army and continues their recent trends of buying from Western suppliers.

The fact that this looks like it will be a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) rather then a contest and award via the Indian procurement system may be due to the all of the issues facing previous attempts to purchase the gun. In the past several contracts and contests fell and companies were banned due to corruption and bribery issues.

The contract is worth about $700 million.

Photo from The U.S. Army flickr photostream.

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