DAC approves progress in M777 howitzers procurement, okays Rs 28,000 crore proposals

New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) The Defence Acqusition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, on Saturday “approved” progress in the ongoing case of procurement of 145 M777 ultra light howitzers from US, and cleared 19 proposals worth Rs 28,000 crore, defence ministry officials said.

“The DAC approved progress of ongoing case of 145 ultralight howitzer on FMS route from US,” an official said.

“DAC directed independent progressing of the offsets. Deliveries of these guns will be in India, resulting in substantial cost savings in transportation,” the official added.

Some of the guns will be assembled in India, the official said.

“There will be certain components that will be coming as full assembled guns and some of it will be assembled here.”

Asked about the process in the procurement, the official said: “Since we are getting it through Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route, we have sent a request letter to US government. They have sent us a draft letter of acceptance.

“When the draft letter of acceptance comes to us we review that the terms we gave and the terms that they have accepted are matching or are they acceptable to us… Once this letter of acceptance is sent back to their government and finally after that whatever is the money is paid.”

The timeline for procurement of the gun was however not revealed, though the source confirmed there have been discussions on it.

“Timing has been discussed but I would not like to dwell on the timing. But timing also include the time needed for assembly, integration and testing in India,” the official added.

The DAC is the highest decision making body of the defence ministry.

The deal for buying M777 howitzers has been long pending and in May 2012, the defence ministry had cleared the proposal for buying 145 guns.

The proposal however went into the cold basket. The deal appeared to be off at a time, but in November 2014, the process was restarted under the “Make In India” programme.

–IANS

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