In­dian Ar­tillery – Cur­rent and Fu­ture Sta­tus

Ac­cord­ingly, ‘Ar­tillery Pro­file’ was con­ceived and pro­mul­gated with em­pha­sis on ‘Medi­u­mi­sa­tion’ of Ar­tillery. The plans were rather am­bi­tious and in­volved the ac­qui­si­tion of about 3,000 plus guns by 2025 at an es­ti­mated cost of $8 bil­lion.

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE - LT GEN­ERAL NARESH CHAND (RETD)

Ac­cord­ingly, ‘Ar­tillery Pro­file’ was con­ceived and pro­mul­gated with em­pha­sis on ‘Medi­u­mi­sa­tion’ of Ar­tillery. The plans were rather am­bi­tious and in­volved the ac­qui­si­tion of about 3,000 plus guns by 2025 at an es­ti­mated cost of $8 bil­lion. Lt Gen­eral Naresh Chand (Retd)

THERE HAS BEEN NO ac­qui­si­tion of guns for the In­dian Ar­tillery since 1987 when 410 pieces of 39-cal­i­bre 155mm FH-77B how­itzers were ac­quired from Swe­den’s AB Bo­fors. The con­tract was em­broiled in is­sues of cor­rup­tion and al­leged mal­prac­tices which pre­vented all ef­forts for mod­ern­iza­tion of Ar­tillery. This lead to large voids in fire power of the In­dian Army. The alarm­ing state of voids re­sulted in the evolve­ment of Field Ar­tillery Ra­tio­nal­iza­tion Plan (FARP) in 2000 As part of FARP, 155mm cal­i­bre was made the stan­dard gun sys­tem for In­dian Ar­tillery. Ac­cord­ingly, ‘Ar­tillery Pro­file’ was con­ceived and pro­mul­gated with em­pha­sis on ‘Medi­u­mi­sa­tion’ of Ar­tillery. The plans were rather am­bi­tious and in­volved the ac­qui­si­tion of about 3000 plus guns by 2025 at an es­ti­mated cost of $8bil­lion. These in­clude 1,580 towed gun sys­tems (TGS), 814 mounted gun sys­tems (MGS), 100 self-pro­pelled how­itzers (SPHs) and 145 BAE Sys­tems M777 155 mm/39 cal­i­bre light­weight how­itzers for the moun­tains. Ex­pect for M777, all other gun sys­tems were of 155mm/52 cal­i­bre or 45 cal­i­bre. Lo­cally up­graded and retro­fit­ted guns will make up ad­di­tional num­bers.

Tap­ping the In­dian In­dus­try

It was de­cided to tap the In­dian In­dus­try to give im­pe­tus to the growth of mil­i­tary in­dus­try com­plex in In­dia; be­come self con­tained in ar­ma­ments by en­cour­ag­ing in­dige­nous devel­op­ment; en­cour­age com­pe­ti­tion amongst the govern­ment and pri­vate in­dus­try to at­tain ef­fi­ciency; gain­fully em­ploy the ex­pe­ri­ence and in­fras­truc­ture of In­dia’s De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) and De­fence Pub­lic Sec­tor Un­der­tak­ings, and speed up the out­put of guns to meet the tar­get of about 3,000 guns in a rea­son­able time frame. The last as­pect would be achieved by giv­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing con­tract for the same sys­tem to more than one com­pany. Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had un­furled his ‘Make in In­dia’ vi­sion. Such ad­vance sys­tems could not be de­vel­oped and man­u­fac­tured by purely In­dian com­pa­nies in a de­sir­able time frame thus the In­dian com­pa­nies were al­lowed to col­lab­o­rate with for­eign com­pa­nies for trans­fer of tech­nolo­gies with they be­ing the prime con­trac­tor. This has re­sulted in ac­cel­er­ated progress to­wards achiev­ing the ob­jects of FARP.

Cur­rent Sta­tus of FARP

M777 155 mm/39 Cal­i­bre Ul­tra Light

weight How­itzers (ULH). The con­tract for pro­cure­ment of 145 num­bers 155mm/39 cal­i­bre ULH was signed with US Govern­ment in Novem­ber 2016. These how­itzers are be­ing pro­cured un­der US For­eign Mil­i­tary Sales Pro­gramme. As per the con­tract, US Govern­ment will de­liver 25 fully formed how­itzers from USA/UK and bal­ance 120 how­itzers will be as­sem­bled in In­dia. The de­liv­ery of these how­itzers will be com­pleted over a pe­riod of four years.

Dhanush.

Ord­nance Fac­to­ries Board (OFB) as been tasked to pro­duce a 45-cal­i­bre 155 mm how­itzer based on the Trans­fer of Tech­nol­ogy ob­tained from Bo­fors in the 1980s. The De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil ap­proved a pro­posal from the OFB to man­u­fac­ture 144 pieces of 155 mm/45-cal­i­bre how­itzers with the op­tion to ac­quire an­other 400 pro­vided the pro­to­types suc­cess­fully meet the army’s GSQR in user tri­als. The gun has com­pleted the Field Eval­u­a­tion Tri­als less DGQA tri­als of Au­to­matic Gun Sight­ing Sys­tem and Dig­i­tal In­ter­com­mu­ni­ca­tion Sys­tem. The guns are cur­rently un­der­go­ing the user ex­ploita­tion to test the ro­bust­ness and ef­fi­cacy of the sys­tem. Dur­ing the sum­mer tri­als in 2017 two in­ci­dents were no­ticed dur­ing the user ex­ploita­tion phase at Pokhran and in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been or­dered to es­tab­lish the cause. Once the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is com­pleted, re­me­dial ac­tion will be taken and user ex­ploita­tion will be re­sumed. Post suc­cess­ful GS Eval­u­a­tion and user ex­ploita­tion, the Bulk Pro­duc­tion Clear­ance for 144 guns will be granted to OFB.

55mm/52 cal­i­bre Towed How­itzer

Nex­ter of France has of­fered their gun and have tied up with Lar­son & Toubro (L&T). El­bit of Is­rael has of­fered their gun AT HOS 2052 and have tied up with Kalyani Group/ Bharat Forge. How­itzers of both Nex­ter and El­bit Sys­tems un­der­went com­pet­i­tive tri­als in re­sponse to the Min­istry of De­fence’s ten­der of 2011/12 for 1,580 guns which was con­cluded in Novem­ber 2015. The two guns are cur­rently un­der­go­ing Gen­eral Staff eval­u­a­tion by the army be­fore one is short­listed and price ne­go­ti­a­tions be­gin. The army plans to ac­quire 400 guns un­der the DPP’s ‘Buy and Make’ cat­e­gory and li­cense build the re­main­ing 1,180 how­itzers. It is now re­ported that fresh tri­als have been or­dered for which two how­itzers each from Nex­ter and El­bit Sys­tems have been po­si­tioned. Self Pro­pelled How­itzers (SPH) K9 Va­jra-T. In De­cem­ber 2015 the Min­istry of De­fence be­gan price ne­go­ti­a­tions with L&T for 100 mod­i­fied South Korean SPHs, worth around 5,600 crore ($800 mil­lion). The K9 Va­jra-T, an L&T ver­sion of Sam­sung Tech­win’s K9 Thun­der 155mm/52 cal­i­bre gun cus­tom­ized for In­dia’s 2012 SPH ten­der, was short­listed for ac­qui­si­tion in late Septem­ber after un­der­go­ing tri­als along with Rus­sia’s MSTA – self-pro­pelled gun, which had been mod­i­fied to 155mm/52 cal­i­bre stan­dard and mounted on a T-72 tank chas­sis. Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try sources the K9,which is be­ing pro­cured un­der the DPP2012 ‘Buy Global’ cat­e­gory, will be built at L&T’s Tale­gaon fa­cil­ity near Pune in western In­dia. This clas­si­fi­ca­tion per­mits do­mes­tic com­pa­nies to en­ter into tie-ups with OEMs to of­fer co­op­er­a­tively de­vel­oped equip­ment and plat­forms to the In­dian mil­i­tary.

The K9 is ex­pected to con­tain some 13 ma­jor in­dige­nous sub­sys­tems, in­clud­ing its fire con­trol, am­mu­ni­tion han­dling, and

nu­clear, bi­o­log­i­cal, and chem­i­cal sys­tem and muz­zle ve­loc­ity radar, to help it by­pass the 30 per cent off­set obli­ga­tion. It is learnt that the con­tract has al­ready been signed, and in­cludes a fol­low-on op­tion for ad­di­tional 50 K9 guns.

814 Truck-mounted guns. The Ac­qui­si­tion of 814 truck-mounted Guns has been ap­proved by the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil in Novem­ber 2014 and will be un­der­taken un­der the ‘buy and make in In­dia’cat­e­gory with trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy. While the first 100 guns will be im­ported, the re­main­ing 714 will be pro­duced in In­dia. Tata Power SED with its 155mm truck mounted gun sys­tem and L&T-Ashok Ley­land-Nex­ter with their 155mm gun are among the pri­vate com­pa­nies in In­dia that are likely to sub­mit pro­pos­als for the project, as re­ported by the me­dia.

Cat­a­pult — The In­terim So­lu­tion for Self-Pro­pelled How­itzers (SPH)

In the in­terim the army is ex­pected to in­duct 40 in­dige­nously de­vel­oped Cat­a­pult Mk II SPHs, which mount a 130mm gun on the chas­sis of the lo­cally de­signed Ar­jun MBT.

These will re­place an equal num­ber of Cat­a­pult Mk Is, de­signed in the early 1980s by mount­ing the 130mm gun onto the ex­tended chas­sis of an OFB-built Vi­jayanta (Vick­ers Mk 1) MBT.

155/52 cal­i­bre Self Pro­pelled How­itzer

L&T is ex­pected to de­velop this sys­tem. 155 mm/52 Cal­i­bre Ad­vance Towed

Ar­tillery Gun Sys­tem (ATA GS). ATAGS is In­dia’s first in­dige­nous 155mm/52-cal­iber towed gun sys­tem which is be­ing de­vel­oped by De­fence Re­search and Devel­op­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tion along with two pri­vate-sec­tor firms, Tata Power SED and the Kalyani Group/Bharat Forge. Dur­ing Jan­uary 2017, two ATAGS pro­to­types had been made and were un­der tri­als. Dur­ing Septem­ber 2017, De­fence Min­is­ter Nirmala Sithara­man also at­tended the trial along with the COAS and the DG Ar­tillery. Fi­nally there will be a re­quire­ment of 1,500 towed guns cost­ing about $4.5bil­lion but the ini­tial or­der is for the im­me­di­ate re­quire­ment of 114 guns.

Am­mu­ni­tion

All am­mu­ni­tion for the guns will be made in In­dia. Ef­forts are also on in­clude the pri­vate sec­tor in the man­u­fac­ture of am­mu­ni­tion.

Boost­ing ‘Make in In­dia’ in De­fence Pro­duc­tion by Make-II

As a ma­jor boost to ‘Make in In­dia’ in De­fence, the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil, chaired by De­fence Min­is­ter Nirmala Sithara­man, in its meet­ing on Jan­uary 16, 2018, has cleared a sim­pli­fied ‘Make-II’ pro­ce­dure which will en­able greater par­tic­i­pa­tion of in­dus­try in ac­qui­si­tion of de­fence equip­ment. This process will greatly help im­port sub­sti­tu­tion and pro­mote in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions. This sim­pli­fied ‘Make-II’ pro­ce­dure will amend the ex­ist­ing ‘Make Pro­ce­dure’ in De­fence Pro­cure­ment Pro­ce­dure (DPP)-2016.The re­vised pro­ce­dure has been fi­nal­ized after a se­ries of con­sul­ta­tions held with in­dus­try and is aimed ‘bet­ter bang for the buck’.

As a ma­jor boost to ‘Make in In­dia’ in De­fence, the De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil, chaired by De­fence Min­is­ter Nirmala Sithara­man, in its meet­ing on Jan­uary 16, 2018, has cleared a sim­pli­fied ‘Make-II’ pro­ce­dure which will en­able greater par­tic­i­pa­tion of in­dus­try in ac­qui­si­tion of de­fence equip­ment

PHO­TO­GRAPH: L&T

L&T’s K9 Va­jra-T 155mm/52 cal­i­bre gun

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