The army is considering a proposal that could breathe back life into a stalled artillery gun-making programme with Israel to cover a critical gap in its weapons profile amid continuing tension in Ladakh, ET has learnt.
ET has gathered that delay in an indigeneous gun-making programme, which is unlikely to fully fructify before 2026 and the unpredictable situation on the China front has injected fresh concern.Despite recent inductions like the K9 Vajra mobile artillery systems, internal assessments have flagged off a capability gap in the short term, given the slow pace of deliveries by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) of the self developed Dhanush towed artillery guns and the incomplete trials of the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAG).
While imports are the last option, the army is considering a proposal for fast delivery of 400 guns under a project that has remained stalled since 2019, with the winning bidder Elbit Systems offering over 70% indigenous content and setting up production facilities in India.
Sources confirmed that the army has received a proposal to drastically shorten the delivery period of the guns as well, with the first six promised to be delivered within 10 months of signing a contract and the complete set of 400 guns to be in service by 2025.
The Israeli company had been shortlisted as the lowest bidder in an international competition in 2019 after undergoing extensive tests by the army. However, the contract has not moved ahead for almost two years as India has been considering the ATAGs programme as well.