The barrel of one of the M-777 Guns being acquired from the US exploded yesterday during its trialat Pokharan Field Firing Ranges in Thar dessert in Rajasthan.
During the firing on 02 Sep 17, the projectile which was fifth of the series; exited the barrel in multiple pieces, causing thus the accident, sources in the army said citing initial reports.
The Army had received the delivery of two M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) and the trails were being carried out to prepare them for induction.
These were the first new units of artillery to join the Army after a gap of three decades. India last inducted the Swedish Bofors guns in the 1980s, the deal of which kicked up a major controversy and stalled the Army’s artillery modernisation programme. However, the Bofors guns won the Kargil conflict for India and continues to be the Army’s mainstay.
The M777 is a 155mm, 39 caliber towed artillery gun made of titanium and aluminium alloys and weighs four tonnes, enabling it to be transported under slung by helicopters.
In November 2016, India signed the Letter of Acceptance (LoA) with the U.S. government under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme for 145 BAE Systems-built M777A2 artillery guns in a deal worth $737 million.