Army inquiring leakage of secret report

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) Army is inquiring whether asecret report regarding trial of ultra-light gunships proposedto be procured from the US has been leaked.

The Army proposes to procure 145 M-777 Ultra-LightHowitzers (ULH) from the US through an inter-governmentalagreement, which will mark the first deal of the artillerygunships that India has entered into in 25 years after theBofors gun scandal broke out.

"There are allegations about the trial report beingleaked and we are looking into it," an army source said butpointed out that no formal investigation, usually conducted bythe Military Intelligence, has been ordered so far.

The field trials of the American howitzer have beencarried out at various places including Leh, Sikkim besidesthe desert and plain areas also. The trials are yet to becompleted, the source said.

American BAE Systems and Singapore TechnologiesKinetics (STK) were the two contenders for the deal to supplythe 155mm/39 calibre guns to the Army for being deployed inmountains.

The Government decided to go for the Foreign MilitarySales (FMS) route to procure the M-777 howitzers from the USafter STK was blacklisted for its alleged involvement in theOrdnance Factory Board scam in 2009.

Due to the blacklisting, the Army had to cancel thetender for procuring 400 towed howitzers also and has reissueda new Request For Proposal (RFP) last month.

The deal is critical for the Army to do away with thedeficiency of modern howitzers in Service and Army ChiefGeneral V K Singh had expressed hope that the guns would beinducted by the end of this year into the force.

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