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No Short Cuts in Field Gun Purchase: JJ

By Staff
Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Mar 20 (UNI) With the recent resurfacing of Le Affaire Quattrocchi in the background, the Army was not keen on taking a snap decision on its long-pending purchase of 155 mm field guns -- though field trials of the three contenders had been completed by early this year.

''There can definitely be no shortcuts... after all, the field guns have to perform for decades... any decision in this regard will be taken only after we've completely satisfied ourselves about the various field guns being considered,'' Army Chief Gen JJ Singh said today.

He said the field trials of the three shortlisted guns in the running -- the Israeli Soltam, South African Denel and the 'controversial' Bofors (now owned by BAE Systems) -- had been completed and the results were now being evaluated.

Gen Singh made clear that the Army wanted to be ''fully satisfied'' about the field gun before finalising the purchase order.

''And this could very well take even one to two years....'' The Army Chief was talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a function here for the flagging off of the Army's Fourth Expedition to Mount Everest.

The Indian Army plans purchasing some 400 towed 155mm 52-calibre artillery guns -- valued at over 1.5 billion US Dollars.

Since 2002, howitzers from the three shortlisted firms -- Israel's Soltam, South Africa's Denel and Sweden's SWS Defence Bofors (now owned by BAE Systems) -- have undergone three rounds of trials. The final results of these very trials were now ''under evaluation''.


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