A technologically improved version of the Bofors gun manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) will be test-fired in Rajasthan's Thar desert on Monday, a defence ministry source said.
This will mark a leap in the army's modernisation plans, as not a single 155mm artillery gun has been inducted since the Bofors controversy erupted in 1987. The test-fire comes on the heels of the defence ministry clearing the procurement of 145 M-777 Ultra Light Howitzers from the US.
The deals are part of the army's Rs 20,000-crore artillery modernisation plan. The urgency for upgrading arsenal picked up after army chief Gen VK Singh's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March warned of "critical operational hollowness" in dealing with Pakistan and China.
Around the same time, the defence ministry had awarded the OFB a contract to manufacture 100 howitzer variants. The ministry had in mind the blueprint of the technology that was transferred to the OFB at the time of the Bofors deal in 1986.
The OFB-manufactured variant of Bofors gun can fire a shell up to 40 km, the source said.