Army

India’s First Indigenous Howitzer ‘Dhanush’ to be inducted soon

Dhanush_155mm-artillery-gun-1

After US’s M-777 and K-9 Vajra guns from Korea were symbolically inducted by Army in November, Dhanush, the indigenous version of Swedish Bofors, would be following soon. Dhanush had to fire 5,000 shells during multiple rounds of trials before final selection. Three incidents of malfunctioning and a CBI inquiry had also marred the project. Same malfunction was reported in M-777 and K-9 too though.

Now what remains for Dhanush is a final appraisal, also known as general staff quality requirements (GSQR) evaluation. Dhanush has a higher range and advanced systems as compared to original Bofors.

Ordnance factory, which has made the guns, hopes that GSQR evaluation would be completed in January so that the guns can be finally inducted in February. A ceremony has been planned at School of Artillery at Deolali near Nashik in February, which is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said.

The howitzers are being made at Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur, a unit of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). It is also the first ever big gun to be made by ordnance factory, which, so far, has been only manufacturing light artillery systems.

The project which began in 2010 will finally be concluded eight years down the line. Six guns would be inducted during the ceremony. After that, another 12 would be dispatched by December, 2019.

During the next calendar year, Army is expected to get 48 guns of 155×45 mm calibre in all. These include 18 Dhanush and 30 Sarang guns. The latter is an upgraded version of 130mm gun already with the Army. The Sarang will be made at the Ordnance Factory, Kanpur, and a contract has already been signed.

For Dhanush, the GCF will have to wait for the final GSQR evaluation on the basis of which it would be getting the bulk production order. Officials say what remains to be done now is merely a formality. GSQR evaluation is only compilation of reports of earlier trials.

The GCF will be supplying 114 guns in all in three years after the first batch is sent. On the basis of it an order of another 400 guns would be placed by the Army. On the other hand, Sarang would go in the batches of 30, 70, and 100 each on yearly basis, the source said. The production capacity at GCF will have to be scaled for meeting the future requirement, said an officer.

The factory has also created infrastructure to provide spares for the existing fleet of Bofors guns.

GCF, set up in early 1900s, is expecting a major workload in coming days. A prototype of 155x52mm mounted gun has been developed and the factory hopes to bid as Army plans to place an order for 814 pieces. The major chunk of 155x52mm guns, for which the process of private procurement has started, will be made on transfer of technology basis at the GCF.

A trial by fire, literally ::

Jabalpur: Dhanush guns had to go through a trial by fire to be finally selected. The first of the trials was undertaken in 2013 in which a shell burst within the barrel itself. After a series of successful testfires, there were two incidents of muzzle hits in 2017. In this, the shell broke off a part of the barrel. This delayed the project and trials were extended.

After firing nearly 5,000 rounds, which is more than the quantity used in wartime, it has been found there was no fault in the gun’s design. Sources said the fault is estimated to have been in the ammunition but no specific reason could be pinpointed.

One of the guns of the first batch of M-777 purchased from the US too suffered a muzzle hit. An investigation was carried out and there were similar results, said sources. Before induction in India, a barrel burst incident was reported in the K-9 guns used by the Korean army.

Sources say other guns had to undergo not more than 500 rounds of test fire, as against 4,994 rounds for Dhanush.

During July-August last year, the GCF had faced a CBI inquiry for buying a Chinese spare for the gun. The component which is a bearing on which the barrel rotates was purchased through tendering from a Delhi-based firm which in turn had bought it from China. The first six guns to be given to Army will have the same spare. No defect has been reported in its functioning. The original manufacturer, Rothe Erde of Germany, had refused to supply the bearing to India citing an international arms ban treaty. The manufacturer has finally agreed, said sources.

Jabalpur: After US’ M-777 and K-9 Vajra guns from Korea, were symbolically inducted by army in November — Dhanush, the indigenous version of Swedish Bofors would be following soon. Going was faster for weapons purchased globally. Dhanush had to fire 5,000 shells during multiple rounds of trials before final selection. Three incidents of malfunctioning and a CBI inquiry had also marred the project. Same malfunction was reported in M-777 and K-9 too though.

Now what remains for Dhanush is a final appraisal under, what is known as general staff quality requirements (GSQR) evaluation. Dhanush has a higher range and advanced systems as compared to original Bofors.

Only paper work, ordnance factory which has made the guns hopes that GSQR evaluation would be completed in January so that the guns can be finally inducted in February. A ceremony has been planned at School of Artillery Deolali near Nashik in February, which is expected to be attended by Prime Narendra Modi, said sources.

The howitzers are being made at Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur a unit of the ordnance factory board (OFB). It is also the first ever big gun to be made by ordnance factory which so far has been only manufacturing light artillery systems.

The project which began in 2010 will finally be concluded eight years down the line. Six guns would be inducted during the ceremony. After that another 12 would be dispatched by December 2019.

During the next calender year, army is expected to get 48 guns of 155×45 mm calibre in all. These include 18 of Dhanush and 30 Sarang guns. The latter are an upgraded version of 130mm guns already with the army. The Sarang will be made at the ordnance factory Kanpur and a contract has already been signed.

For Dhanush, the GCF will have to wait for the final GSQR evaluation on the basis of which it would be getting the bulk production order. Officials say what remains to be done now is merely a formality. GSQR evaluation is only compilation of reports of earlier trials.

The GCF will be supplying 114 guns in all, in three years after the first batch is sent. On the basis of it an order of another 400 guns would be placed by army. On the other hand Sarang would go in the batches of 30, 70, and 100 each on yearly basis, the source said. The production capacity at GCF will have to scaled for meeting the future requirement, said an officer.

The factory has also created infrastructure to provide spares for the existing fleet o f Bofors guns.

GCF set up in early 1900s is expecting a major workload in coming days. A prototype of 155×52 mm mounted guns has been developed and the factory hopes to bid as army plans to place an order for 814 pieces. The major chunk of 155×52 guns for which the process of private procurement has started will be made on transfer of technology basis at GCF.

By: TNN

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