The Indian Army is considering a plan to revive the stalled artillery gun-making programme with Israel to bridge a critical gap in its weapons cache amid continuing tension in Ladakh.
The Army has found its last resort in imports because delay in the indigenous gun-making programme is unlikely to be completed before 2026, and also despite induction like the K9 Vajra mobile artillery systems, internal evaluation has raised concern about gap in the short term due to slow pace of deliveries by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) of the indigenous Dhanush artillery guns.
The Israeli company Elbit Systems, has been shortlisted as the lowest bidder in an international competition in 2019 after going through extensive tests by the army. However, the contract has remained dormant for almost two years as India has been considering the ATAGs programme as well.
Sources reveal that the gun has been offered at under Rs 10 crore a piece, against the proposed Rs 18 crore price for ATGs, and would be fully produced in India, with Elbit promising complete transfer of technology free of cost to its domestic partners. Elbit has partnered with Bharat Forge for this programme and the Indian company is also heavily involved in the ATAGs project, according to the sources.