India boosts artillery orders

March 2, 2012 at 4:32 PM

NEW DELHI, March 2 (UPI) -- The Indian army is seeking to upgrade its artillery with a contract with Indian defense manufacturer Ordnance Factory Board.

Ordnance Factory Board is to manufacture 100 howitzer artillery pieces as the Indian army looks for new ordnance.

Indian Defense Ministry official M.M. Pallam Raju said the order includes 155mm/52-caliber howitzer model. Bids for the artillery gun variants such as towed howitzers, self-propelled howitzers and ultra-light howitzers will be open to all defense firms, including foreign equipment manufacturers, he said.

The letting marks a return to a request for bids by India for artillery. More than 20 years ago an acquisition scandal involving Bofors artillery led the Indian army to shy away from awarding artillery contracts.

The scandal smeared many senior politicians at that time, including former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Several people were accused of receiving kickbacks from arms manufacturers in return for contracts.

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