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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

People's Daily Online

US manufacturer not to blame for howitzer misfire accident in India

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 16:51, September 14, 2017

The US manufacturer of the newly-imported howitzer to India is not at fault for the misfire accident that damaged one of the two weapons, the latest report said.

An Indian army's new M777 ultra-light howitzer was damaged in Rajasthan's Pokhran ranges on September 2 when a 155mm artillery round misfired and exploded in the barrel, the Hindustan Times reported.

It added that the accident is currently under investigation with the help of the weapon manufacturer BAE Systems.

However, follow-up reports pointed out that the damage was caused by a shell manufactured by the Indian Defense Ministry's Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). It was also the third accident in four months that a prototype artillery gun under test has had its barrel damaged by shells from OFB, NDTV reported.

In May and July, two prototypes of the Dhanush artillery gun also had their barrels damaged by the shells.

"The number of rounds successfully fired during user trial with ERFB BT ammunition from [the] M-777 howitzer gun were more than 1,100 and the round in which malfunction occurred was [the] 1164th round," said Dr. U Mukherjee, a spokesperson for the shell manufacturer, in a statement to NDTV. It is reportedly the supplier of some 90 percent of the artillery shells for the Indian army.

According to the Hindustan Times, the 155mm, 39-calibre howitzer came to New Delhi in May as part of a $750 million deal with the U.S. A total of 145 howitzers have been ordered by the Indian army and 25 will be supplied in the coming two years. Globally, more than 1,090 M777s are in service and the weapon is also used in the U.S., Australia, and Canada for achieving accurate artillery fire.

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