Army spent crores on dud ammunition: CAG

Army spent crores on dud ammunition: CAG

In the last decade, the Army frittered away Rs 526 crore to buy 3000 rounds of Krasnopol ammunition, which was later found unfit for 155 mm guns,  the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said in its report. The first batch of 1000 terminally guided munitions and 10 laser designators were ordered by the Army in August 1999 at a cost of Rs 151 crore from a Russian firm KBP Tula, to meet operational needs at the peak of the Kargil conflict.

In fact, trials in 1998 and 1999 showed that Krasnopol munitions had limitations of range, angle and precision in high altitudes. Despite the shortcomings, the order was placed because of the conflict situation.

When the ammunition were received in April 2000, instead of the regular proof check, the consignment was accepted based on the demonstration firing inspection.
A firing check in 2006 showed that the ammunition had degraded within seven years even though it is supposed to have a shelf life of 15 years. Till 2008, the munitions have not been repaired, says the report. Even though the ordering was understandable because of the Kargil issue, the CAG has raised fingers towards a fresh batch of 2000 ammunition, ordered and procured in 2002 without any trial evaluation. 

In 2001, the Army decided to purchase additional Krasnopol rounds with 71 laser designators at a cost of Rs 375 crore. The contract was signed in February 2002 and the firm completed the delivery by April 2002. The Russian firm was paid the full amount of Rs 375 crore between March 2002 and April 2003. The consignment was inspected by the artillery in June 2003 after more than a year of its receipt.

During a high altitude test, five rounds were fired and none hit the target. One more round did not open. Subsequent firing tests by the company were unsatisfactory too. The conclusion was that these munitions are not fit for 155 mm guns.

In June 2005, all commands were instructed not to use the munitions and the issue of repair or replacement of those worthless ammunition is yet to be settled. Besides squandering money on worthless ammunition, the Army also bought golf carts for its golf courses showing them as “motorised vehicles for hospitals” and “track laying recee vehicles” in a clear violation of financial powers vested with the commanding officers.
The carts purchased for command hospital and recee job were transferred to Shivalik golf course at Chandimandir maintained by the Western Command. Carts were also given to Army golf courses in Ambala, Jalandhar and Amritsar, the CAG report notes.

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