Using drawings supplied as part of technology transfer of the original Bofors gun, the Indian Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) plans it manufacture some 114 pieces of its homemade artillery called ‘Dhanush’.
The plan is to equip six army batteries with the homemade gun. The Dhanush comes with a 155 mm, 45 calibre howitzer, unlike 39 mm of the original Bofors. This will increase its range from 27 Kms to 38 kms using special ammunition. The Indian Army needs over 400 of such guns.
Defence Research and Development Corporation (DRDO) sources say that they have helped the OFB in forging the barrel of the gun – a crucial element of the howitzer. It is usually this stage that requires complex metallurgical capabilities that had until now eluded the Indian gun makers.
An example of that is the fairly recent report of the barrel bursting on trial of the gun model being built by the OFB. Inquiry into the incident later revealed that a problem had occurred with the ammunition being used.
While not much of the machining of the gun is known yet, for much of it is still classified information, the Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar informed Parliamentary Consultative Committee yesterday that the ‘Dhanush’ has cleared both winter and summer trials. This will pave the way for the batch production of the artillery gun.
The Bofors gun that saw action during the Kargil War was a motorized ‘shoot and scoot’ variety. ‘Dhanush’ too has the same capacity but with a longer range of 38 Kms.
Indian had earlier turned down an offer from BAE Systems, USA, the new owner of Bofors to sell the M-777 howitzers as a foreign military sales deal between the US and India on grounds that it was “too expensive”.