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January 3, 2012

Rebirth of BHIM self-propelled howitzer

(IDRW) : DRDO is all set to dust off and review BHIM self-propelled howitzer Project once again. After 11 years been in storage, due to ban imposed on Denel company which was accused of paying bribes and it’s SPH was dropped from consideration.DRDO had successfully had integrated 155-mm / L52 howitzer T6 turret, developed by Denel of South Africa with Indian made Arjun tank chassis . After corruption controversy which came to lime light in 2005, DRDO again send Request for proposal (RFP) in 2007 .but only Samsung Techwin responded to the proposal with their K-9 gun.
Project was left with single vendor proposal, hence another RPF was re-issued after considerable break to make sure that RPF attracts more proposal and it has been rumoured that SWS Bofors, Nextel, Samsung Techwin along with Soltham have responded to RPF issued by DRDO for the replacement gun, and DRDO after going through their proposal and technical evaluation is been done and will be integrating one of their gun with Arjun MBT chassis soon.
In 1999-2000 Indian army had conducted successful trails of the gun with Arjun chassis and Denel also had successfully demonstrated their own T-72 based howitzer in India for Indian army.Indian army had requirement of 400 mounted 155-mm / L52 howitzer, out of which 200 could be based on Arjun chassis and another 200 to be mounted on modified TATRA trucks. Decision on selection of the gun will take place this year.
Cancellation of the project had effected Production and procurement of materials for Arjun MBT, since Indian army had only placed orders for 128 tanks at that time and 200 orders for BHIM could have lead to continues production run at Avadi . This currently has been halted since CVRDE almost completed 128 tanks ordered by Indian Army. Indian army did placed further orders of 128 Arjun MK-2 variant, but the production will only start after summer user trials are completed by Indian army.

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