Apart from the ordnance factory, 155mm guns of different versions are being made by private players too. L&T Heavy Engineering, which bagged over Rs 4,800 crore contract along with Korea’s Samsung Techwin to make 155×52 calibre tracked guns, has cleared the trials. The firm is awaiting final contract to be signed.
A source said the price negotiations have already ended and the document was expected to be signed over a month ago. But it could not happen as probably defence minister Manohar Parrikar was busy with Goa electioneering and now there has been a change of guard in the ministry after Parrikar become the Goa CM. It is expected that the deal will be signed in a month now.
Moreover, India has entered into a deal with US’s BAE Systems for 145 M777 ultralight howitzers. Bharat Forge and Elbit have entered into a tie-up for 155×52 guns apart from L&T with Nextar, for 400 guns. The trials are over and user evaluation is to be done. Bharat Forge has independently developed 155×45 and 155×52 guns.
Tatas and Bharat Forge are part of DRDO’s project to develop an advanced towed artillery gun system. The GCF, Jabalpur is developing 155×52 mounted version. The ordnance factory will be undertaking upgradation of existing 130mm guns into 155mm.