With the army failing in its attempts to induct new artillery guns in the last 25 years, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has started developing an indigenous 155mm 52 calibre howitzer for the armed forces.
Armament Research and Development Establishment, the DRDO's lab in Pune, has already started working on developing indigenous artillery guns for the armed forces, senior DRDO officials said.
Other DRDO laboratories will also be involved in the programme but ARDE will be the lead agency for it, they said.
The officials said the research agency had started working on the development of the Bhim self-propelled howitzer about a decade back but the project was virtually scrapped after South African firm Denel was blacklisted by the ministry.
Despite several attempts, cancellation of tenders due to various reasons has not allowed the army to induct any new artillery gun in the last 25 years after the controversy surrounding the Bofors guns snow-balled into a big political issue since the late 80s.
Even the recently issued global tender for procuring 400 guns has run into rough weather, with one of the main contenders Bofors deciding to pull out of the deal.
As part of its over Rs 20,000-crore artillery modernisation plan, the Army is looking at inducting several types of howitzers through inter-governmental pacts and global tenders.
The army presently uses a mix of 105mm field guns and 130mm and 155mm howitzers.