India will issue a request to the US Government next month for procuring 145 M777 ultra light howitzers for the Army at a cost of over Rs 3,000 crore.
"The Letter of Request (LoR) for procuring 145 Ultra Light Howitzers for the Indian Army through the Foreign Military Sales route would be issued in October," a Defence Ministry official told PTI today.
The clearance for procuring these howitzers was given recently by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister A K Antony.
The Ultra Light Howitzers of 155 mm (39 calibre) are being acquired for deployment in high altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, officials said.
The Ultra Light Howitzers are expected to be the first artillery guns to be included into the Army in the last 26 years.
After the Bofors controversy in 1986, no new gun has been procured by the Army for its artillery.
The M777 guns, manufactured by the BAE Systems of the US, can be airlifted easily and be used for quick deployment of assets in mountainous regions.
The go-ahead for procurement of these guns had been cleared by a high-level committee headed by DRDO chief V K Saraswat after leaked trial reports of the guns suggested that they were not fully meeting the parameters of the Army.
The Army is also hoping to induct the Bofors guns manufactured indigenously by the Ordnance Factory Board at its facilities in Jabalpur. The guns will be ready for pre-user trials phase in December.