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Winter trials of Howitzers' postponed after accident

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A Howitzer gun on display at Defexpo 2010. Brahmand photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Army has postponed the winter trials for procuring 155 mm towed howitzers after St Kinetics expressed inability to bring its gun for field- testing due to an accident in Singapore.

"The winter trials will now be held in October as one of the two contenders, St Kinetics, said its gun was damaged in an accident in Singapore and would be able to arrive in India only after March," Army officials said here.

St Kinetics senior executive Brig Gen Patrick Choy said the accident occurred when the gun was being transported to India.

"We have to cut some parts on the gun which were damaged in the accident. We will definitely have the guns in India by April and it will take part in the summer trials," he said.

Facing obsolescence in Artillery, the Indian Army is planning to procure 400 towed howitzers and BAE Systems and the Singaporean St Kinetics are the two contenders offering their platforms.

The field trials have already been delayed as they were put on hold after St Kinetics' name surfaced in a CBI case for allegedly bribing Ordnance Factory Board officials.

After the government decided to allow tainted firms to participate in defence contracts till the time the probe was on, the Army decided to hold the winter trials in Leh in February and March.

In view of the mishap involving the St Kinetics gun, the trials are now expected to be held in October-November.

Commenting on the other tenders where ST Kinetics is participating, Choy said the company’s SAR-21 assault rifles were undergoing trials for meeting the requirements of the Home Ministry tender for procuring around 40,000 guns.

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