The Indian Defense ministry has issued two requests for proposal (RfP) to overseas vendors for wheeled howitzers and tracked self-propelled (SP) guns as part of a long-delayed attempt at standardizing the army's artillery inventory, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported Monday.
IANS quoted unnamed defense sources as saying that the RfP, or an initial inquiry, for 180 155mm/52 caliber wheeled howitzers was dispatched four weeks ago to 27 vendors while the one for 100 tracked SP guns was issued last week to 17 manufacturers from Sweden, Singapore, France, Spain, Austria, Finland, Israel and Italy.
The eventual contract is to include transfer of technology to locally build the howitzers.
Under the Field Artillery Rationalization Plan, the army plans by 2020-25 to acquire a mix of around 3,600 155mm/52 cal towed, wheeled and tracked guns for some 180 of some 220 artillery regiments that could cost 5 to 7 billion U.S. dollars.
The Indian army's remaining 40-odd artillery regiments are equipped with light guns and missiles.
Presently, the army operates around 14 different caliber guns but has long wanted to configure its artillery force levels predominantly around 155mm/52 caliber howitzers to enhance battlefield effectiveness.