Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dhanush The Indian 155mm 45 cal Artillery

Dhanush The Indian 155mm 45 cal Artillery

Dhanush Gun in Winter Trails

      Haunted by the purchase of Bofors India has always been on a lookout for a more reliable artillery fun.  India signed a deal with the Swedish company back in 1986 for the Bofors under which, India was to procure 410 pieces of 155mm Howitzer field guns at an estimated cost of $285 million.  But the deal was troubled from its inking, the scandal brought to light by the Sweden radio served as a major setback to the deal. The Bofors did prove their battle worthiness in the Kargil operation but since then never went any up gradation and the numbers of the crucial artillery guns have dwindled down to as low as 200. The need for these weapons is one of the most urgent needs of the army.

       The UPA government weighted plans to procure a latest Artillery gun from a foreign vendor and under ToT to continue productions and development in India. The Congress led government which had signed the deal in 1986 had suffered dearly losing the power owing to the Bofors deal and the UPA government was always reluctant to ink a deal. 

   At the same time the OFB was asked to come up with a design which would empower Indian Army with a reliable and powerful Artillery gun. The OFB choose the Bofors design for the base layout and decided to develop upon the design which would result in a very composite piece of machinery. 

          The program was code named Dhanush, OFB joined hands with L&T and Bharat forge for developing an indigenously developed howitzer which was to be handed over to the army for tests by 2013. The Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) was selected as the lead developer for the program under which the gun was to feature a 155mm 52 calibre and the gun would offer a operating range of 38 kilometre.   

     The gun is claimed to be around 80 per cent indigenously developed the  APU, electronic dial sights and the thermal gunner sights are at the moment the components being imported but DRDO promises to indigenously develop these units in the coming years.

      By 2014 OFB handed over a highly advanced and robust Artillery gun named the Dhanush to the army, the army then went on to claim the product as one of the most reliable products to be ever placed on the battle field. 

   The Defence ministry then placed order for 114 Dhanush guns from OFB, each of these guns costs nearly 11 crore. The guns went under serial production last year and OFB handed over 18 Dhanush to the Army last year, and has plans to produce nearly 50 units this year and has plans to ramp up productions with newer facilities and will be supplying the army with 100 more guns in 2016, which would effectively complete the Initial orders.

    The Army has a requirement of about 400 long range howitzers, the tests of the Dhanush had hit dead ends owing to the barrel burst when the Dhanush was undergoing live round fire trials in Pokran range. But OFB did prove it was a failed ammunition round and not the barrel itself and OFB agreed to redesign the barrel. 

      Dhanush was recently test fired from the Pokran range yet again and was monitored for its performance under high temperature. Dhanush performed exceptionally well and performed missions well within the nominated parameters. Dhanush also was tested for low temperature operations in Kashmir valley where the gun performed under the set parameters and was successful in eliminating preset targets. 

     Briefing the media about Dhanush performance the Defence Minister on 27th April made public the test statics, and quoted all tests was successful and the Army was a satisfied lot with the gun's performance.

       Experts believe the 45 Cal Gun id effective for stop gap measure, but the real force multiplier would be the 52 cal Artillery with 155mm barrel which is still under development. India currently operates the M 46, an Soviet era field guns which enjoys a range of 39 kilometer thanks to its 155mm barrel and this could be used as an basic outline for the underdevelopment 155mm barrelled gun. 

Editor Karthik Kakoor

The Bofers Gun
Dhanush in Hot weather Trials
OFB Dhanush in Def Expo

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