(Tibune News) : Trials of indigenously produced new artillery guns, meant to replace the Army's inventory of 155 mm Howitzers supplied by AB Bofors around 25 years ago, have been promising. In its assessment of the trials carried out this summer in Rajasthan, the Army has said the guns have met the "stipulated parameters'.
Produced by the Ordnance Factory Board, these guns are 155 mm, 45 calibre howitzers. These look like Bofors and have the capacity to fire up to a distance of 32 km. These guns were tested near Pokhran in Rajasthan during May this year.
Around 100 such guns have been ordered by the Army and are based more or less on the existing Bofors design for which the OFB holds the Transfer of Technology (ToT) licence from the Bofors. Research for the manufacture of a number of variants of the howitzer is underway and is nearing completion.
The Army has expressed keenness to have 155 mm 52 calibre guns which the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will produce. The original AB Bofors-inducted in 1987-is 39 calibre. The "calibre" of a gun is primarily the length of its barrel that helps the ammunition in travelling farther. A 52 calibre gun will fire around 4-5 km more than other variants.
The recently ordered 100 guns of 45 calibre, coupled with 145 ultra-light howitzers (ULH) and the upcoming 52 calibre gun being produced by the DRDO are expected to end the shortage of artillery guns in the Indian Inventory. As part of its artillery modernisation plan, the Army plans to purchase a total of 400 howitzers that can be towed away, along with 180 self-propelled ones and 145 ULH.
Apart from the order placed to the OFB, the Ministry of Defence has okayed the purchase of 145 ULH under a $700-million deal through the foreign military sales (FMS) route between the US and India. Named the M777, these guns weigh just 3,200 kg each and can be slung under a helicopter to be dropped in mountain areas that are inaccessible by road. These guns will be stationed in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh - both facing China.
- Produced by the Ordnance Factory Board, new artillery guns are 155 mm, 45 calibre howitzers
- Can fire up to a distance of 32 km
- These will replace Army's inventory of 155 mm Howitzers supplied by AB Bofors around 25 yrs ago