Indian Army is expected to receive 114 upgraded version of indigenous gun Dhanush in three years for an approximate US $251 million (1600 crore).
“The Army’s quest for new artillery is nearing completion with the indigenous gun upgraded by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) clearing trials. The Army has placed an indent for 114 guns in the first phase and these will be delivered in three years,” The Hindu news daily quoted unnamed sources as saying.
“After the Pokhran fiasco with one barrel-burst, Dhanush barrels were tested in Sikkim under cold conditions and in other temperatures and came out with flying colors. The Army is fully satisfied,” the officials said.
A Dhanush prototype suffered a barrel burst during firing trials at Pokhran in August 2013 which delayed the process.
Dhanush is an upgraded version of Sewdish 155-mm Bofors howitzers bought by India in mid-1980s based on the original design. It is a 155-mm, 45-calibre gun with a maximum effective range of 38 km in salvo mode compared to the 39-calibre, 27-km range of the original guns. It is 80 per cent indigenous, with the APU (auxiliary power unit), electronic dial sights and a few other small items being imported.
The Army is desperately short of new long-range artillery, having failed to induct any new gun after the Bofors scandal. Recently, the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar approved a revised proposal from BAE Systems for 145 Ultra-Light Howitzers for mountainous areas under a government-to-government deal with the United States.
Additionally last November, the DAC cleared the process for purchase of 814 mounted gun systems through the ‘Buy and Make’ category to be built by an Indian private partner in collaboration with a foreign manufacturer.