India’s Krasnopol 155mm LGM Shells: Defective
In December 2006,
The Indian Express reported that India’s Russian Krasnopol 155mm laser-guided shells have displayed defective performance during Army test-firing in the Mahajan ranges in Rajasthan in 2004 and 2005. In March 2007, Defence Minister Shri AK Antony confirmed the extent of the problem.
1,000 Krasnopol shells were bought from M/s KBP Instrument Design Bureau in Tula, Russia under a 1999 contract, and delivered in May 2000 at a cost Rs 151 crores (about $34.4 million then). Two years later, New Delhi bought another 2,000 shells, with plans firmed up for buying another 6,000. Unfortunately…
“Top Government sources have told The Sunday Express that a majority of the 2,000-strong Krasnopol inventory has been found defective: the shell, priced over Rs 15 lakh per piece, hits the target accurately during test-firing but fails to explode on impact.”
The shells also displayed difficulties at high altitudes during the 1999 Kargil War. At first, the Army thought that the problem was with the designator so they replaced Israeli and French designators with original KBP equipment. Reports indicate, however, that this has not resolved the problems. Indeed, a March 8, 2007 release by India’s Ministry of Defence had this to say:
“India’s Russian Krasnopol inventory was proved defective during the Army test firing. The performance of the first lot of quantity 1000 rounds of projectiles procured in 1999 has deteriorated over the years the recently during test firing by the Army, it was observed that the performance was not up to the mark. Another quantity of 2000 projectiles procured in 2002 also did not perform to the desired standards in high altitude areas. The matter has been taken up with the vendor to rectify the ammunition to achieve the desired results and enhance its shelf life.
The total amount involved in purchasing 3000 rounds with 81 Laser Designators is US$ 111,950,488 (Rs. 522.44 crores)”