Three indigenously-developed 155 mm 'Dhanush' artillery guns have been handed over to the Indian Army by the Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory (GCF).
"Three 155 mm howitzers (Dhanush) have been handed over to the army recently for user's trial," GCF's Joint General Manager and PRO Sanjay Shrivastava told PTI on Sunday.
GCF is an ordnance factory, which received its first order of 500 transport carts in 1905.
"Another consignment of three guns is being readied and these howitzers too will be delivered to the army shortly," Shrivastava said.
The gun, a towed howitzer with a strike range of 38 km, has been developed by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Kolkata, after going through the design and voluminous documents running into over 12,000 pages which were delivered to India under the first phase of Transfer of Technology (ToT) as part of the Bofors gun deal in the late 80s, another official said.
The Dhanush artillery guns are important because this acquisition is the first one of such weapon systems by the Army in three decades since the Bofors scandal.
According a report in The Telegraph, "the Indian army's 'field artillery rationalisation programme' (FARP) had gone haywire since the allegations of Bofors kickbacks against then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi snowballed into a political row that cast a shadow on successive governments. The institutionalised bureaucracy simply staved off decision-making on big guns."
The plans to acquire such guns were first mooted under Army's Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan (FARP) formulated in 1999.
The army had demanded the six howitzers following successful summer and winter trials of the artillery gun.
The trials saw some 2,000 rounds being successfully fired from the gun in different climatic conditions like in snowy, desert and hostile areas in the country, he said.
The army had been looking for a total of 114 Dhanush guns from GCF to augment its firepower, he further said.
According to the official, the army needs a huge number of howitzers of different types, and Indian firms, some with the help of foreign manufacturers, are in the race to fulfil the demand with the gun's variants.
Costing around Rs 14 crore a piece, Dhanush, (aka 'Desi Bofors') is comparable to most current generation weapon systems which are in use by different countries, he said.
Along with electronic gun-laying and sighting systems and other features, the indigenous gun has an enhanced 11-km range as against the 27-km range of the imported Bofors.
The Indian Army had stationed a special team of officers at the GCF to help monitor the progress, coordinate proof resources and provide guidance regarding the qualitative requirements vis-a-vis the gun system from the user's perspective, the official said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jul 19, 2016 13:36:31 IST