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May 17, 2012

India-made artillery guns to be ready soon

Two types of indigenously manufactured howitzers for the Indian Army will be ready for trials by December 2012 and by June 2013, Government told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
In a written reply to the House, Defence Minister AK Antony said, "As per the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) decision of October 2011, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is to manufacture 155mm howitzers." The OFBs have been asked to manufacture "two prototypes of 155mm/39 calibre FH-77-B02 guns" and the "upgraded version of 155 mm/45 calibre howitzers guns", he said.
On timelines for trials of these indigenous guns, Antony said that the two prototypes of 155mm/39 calibre howitzers will be ready by December 2012, followed by two samples of the upgraded 155mm/45 calibre guns by June 2013. 
On Transfer of Technology (ToT) with the Swedish firm which supplied the 155mm/39 calibre Bofors guns, Antony said, "India had entered into license agreement with AB Bofors, Sweden for indigenous manufacture of 155mm/39 calibre FH-77-B02 guns and its ammunition."
Replying to a question on rules regarding entry of Army units in the capital after Operation Bluestar in 1984, the Defence Minister said that no specific amendments were made in the policy in this regard.
"No specific amendment in the rules/policy related to entry of Army units in the capital region of the country has been made in response to events in 1984 including operation Bluestar," Antony said.
He was asked whether "the government had modified the rules regarding entry of Army units in the capital region after Army revolt as a result of Operation Blue Star in 1984". On the training movements of the force, he said these are based on the advance schedules prepared by the Army Headquarters.
On entry of Army units into the NCR during Republic Day, Antony said, "Army units including those posted outside the NCR are nominated for participation in Republic Day Parade. The nominated Army units/contingents enter the Capital Region during Republic Day preparations."
Replying to a question on the on-going probe in procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters, the Minister denied that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been asked to look into the allegations of kickback by the vendors.
On complaints of embezzlement against Cantonment Board officials, Antony said, "A complaint dated Feb 2012 regarding embezzlement of fund concerning EPF/ESI and Service Tax of workers engaged through outsourcing by the officials of Delhi Cantonment Board has been received." The matter is under examination in the Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE), he told the House.

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