New Delhi: The recent clearance from the Indian Army and the defence ministry for the production of 114 ‘Dhanush’ artillery guns is the latest fillip to India’s indigenous gun manufacturing industry.
The guns, deemed the ‘Desi Bofors’, will form part of a trio of artillery weapons, along with the K9 Vajra and the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), that will be manufactured in the country.
While the Dhanush guns will be manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), making them the first indigenously-produced long-range artillery gun, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had last year cleared the production of 100 K9 Vajras and 150 ATAGS at a cost of Rs 3,365 crore.
The K9 Vajras are being produced by Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and South Korea’s Hanwha Tech Win (HTW) under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, while the ATAGS is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), with one prototype being made in partnership with Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division) and the other with Bharat Forge.
Once fully inducted, the three guns are expected to boost the artillery power of the Indian Army after a lull of nearly 31 years since the Bofors guns were inducted. The Bofors guns were controversially the last piece of artillery imported by India.
Dhanush boost for Make in India
In a statement released 20 February, the ministry had hailed the Dhanush guns as yet another success story of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The statement explained that the Dhanush gun is equipped with “inertial navigation-based sighting system, auto-laying facility, onboard ballistic computation and an advanced day and night direct firing system”.
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“The self-propulsion unit allows the gun to negotiate and deploy itself in mountainous terrains with ease,” it said.
It added that Dhanush has been mechanically upgraded to fire standard NATO 155 mm ammunition and can accommodate the bi-modular charge system (BMCS) that has increased its range, it said.
In June last year, Dhanush passed its final test at Pokhran that paved the way for it to be inducted into the Army.
A towed howitzer with a strike range of 38-km, Dhanush has been developed by OFB, Kolkata, on the basis of the first phase of Transfer of Technology (ToT) as part of the Bofors gun deal lending it the name Desi Bofors.
The production of 10 ATAGS, a 152mm, 52-calibre gun, has been sanctioned as part of the development process. The guns are undergoing development trials at present.
An all-electric drive, high mobility, advanced communications system and automated command and control system are some of the significant features of the ATAGS gun.
K9 Vajra is a self-propelled artillery gun that will boost the Indian Army’s firepower on the western border. The first 10 K9 Vajra guns have been imported from Hanwha Techwin of South Korea and have been assembled by L&T in India, while the remaining 90 guns will be mostly manufactured in India.
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