The Indian Army may be getting a much-needed boost to its arsenal with a purchase of 145 M777 howitzers. The Defense Ministry just approved a $660 million proposal to secure the artillery weapons. This may just seem like a bit of relatively mundane military gun news, but this is a big deal for the South Asian country.
Some of you might remember the Bofors scandal back in 1980s and ’90s. Bofors AB, a Swedish arms manufacturer, paid Indian officials the equivalent of nearly $13 million USD to secure the winning arms contract bid. The corruption was incredibly widespread, with ten of India’s top government officials accepting the payoffs. When word got out, the outraged people of India voted the Indian National Congress party out of power on the next election. The country hasn’t purchased any major artillery weapons since.
Well, until now. The M777 howitzer is a beastly artillery weapon capable of firing gps-guided rounds between 14 and 25 miles, depending on the ammunition. The US Army and Marines are currently rocking out M777s and they were used in Afghanistan, so you know they have to be good. They’re designed so that they can be easily airlifted and deployed, which is an important consideration for mountainous India. This acquisition will add some major long range firepower to India’s otherwise outdated military.
They’ve still got a few hoops to jump through before they can get their hands on these new toys, though. The Cabinet Committee on Security needs to give the proposal its stamp of approval.