New Delhi: An inquiry has been ordered by the ministry of defence into the reported leakage of a report that concerns the field trials of M-777 ultra-light howitzers, government told the Lok Sabha today.
Through a written response, defence minister AK Antony said, "four pages of draft field trial report were received in an anonymous envelope by the army headquarters. An inquiry in the matter is underway."
Noting that the field evaluation trial report of the guns was a confidential document, he said "detailed instructions exist about the security of classified documents. Aberrations, if any, are dealt with as per the relevant rules."
Ultra-light Howitzer is amongst the equipment that is included in the Artillery Profile 2027 prepared by the artillery directorate of the Indian Army, he said.
Replying to a question on procurement of these guns on single source basis, he said "the procurement on single vendor basis from ST Kinetics, Singapore is sub-judice. The option of procuring the equipment through US government (FMS route) is also being pursued."
On field evaluation of M-777 guns, he said "the field evaluation of ultra-light howitzer comprises three parts i.e. user trials, DGQA trials and maintainability trials."
Out of these, only user trials of the gun proposed to be procured through US government have been completed, he said.
The performance of the gun can be ascertained only after evaluation of all three trial reports, Antony said.