Artillery vehicle

Dhanush’s artillery finally arrives well in the induction-ready confidence trials

Three years after the handover of the Dhanush artillery gun to the Indian Army, India’s successor to the Swedish Bofors 155mm howitzer finally passed “confidence fire” tests in Pokhran on March 8. introduction of the first native 155 mm artillery gun in the army.

Dhanush’s arrival will bring relief and impetus to India’s artillery modernization program, which requires Made in India efforts to deliver quickly after the government’s recent decision to halt the importation of artillery systems. weapons, including artillery guns.

Repeated muzzle-shot incidents had prevented the operationalization of this 155 mm 45 caliber weapon and delayed the artillery modernization program. A muzzle hit occurs when the shell damages the front end of the barrel when fired instead of passing through it cleanly.

For more than a decade, the Indian Army patiently supported the Gun Carriage Factory’s effort to develop the weapon and “fix” what it described as “a few teething problems”.

“Dhanush Gun reliability shot (2 second line shots) ended successfully today at Pokhran Shooting Range. 2 guns fired 90 shots each (including 35 shots with Zone 6) without fail. All bridges are permitted for formal induction,” Defense Production Additional Secretary Sanjay Jaju said.

The first batch of 6 Dhanush guns out of the 114 ordered by the army was handed over to the army in 2019. Subsequently, another 11 guns were delivered. But induction and operationalization have been blocked by the recurring problem of mouth shots.

Dhanush was developed based on technology transfer (ToT) documents provided by Bofors with the 1986 agreement. But due to controversy over the alleged payment of bribes to secure the agreement, the ToT element has not been implemented.

Around 2010, the former Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) decided to develop a follow-on version of the FH-77 Bofors cannon using know-how gleaned from ToT documents and using its experience in upgrading cannons from older artillery.

The Dhanush was developed for a longer strike range of 38 km compared to the 27 km of the old Bofors, which had a 155 mm 39 caliber gun. The range extension required a longer barrel (45 caliber) and a modified double deflector muzzle brake system (MDBMB) to limit the stress on the structure at 155/39 levels. A design flaw that resulted in muzzle banging has now been fixed, and its reliability validated by the second round of reliability testing.

Ninety rounds were fired from each of two guns fielded for the two-phase reliability trials at Pokhran Firing Range in Rajasthan. Additional Secretary Jaju acknowledged that all requirements were validated during testing.

The rate of fire is announced at 3 shots in 15 seconds for bursts, 15 shots in 3 minutes for intense shots and 45 shots in one hour for sustained shots. The weight of the Dhanush is 13 tons, which is 700 kg more than the Bofors FH-77. The barrel is longer by 877 mm. Over 5,500 rounds were reportedly fired from this weapon in various rounds of testing.

Besides a longer range, the Gun Carriage Factory claims the superiority of the Dhanush over the Bofors in many other respects. Among the new features is an automatic laying system based on the fire control computer system compared to the manual system of the old Bofors gun. The gun has an advanced aiming system with a day camera (CCD), a night camera, a laser range finder (LRF) and NFOV and WFOV, officials explained. Bofors only has optical sight day and night.

Dhanush also has a built-in advanced tactical computer for targeting. For the Bofors FH-77, the ballistic calculations had to be done at the command post. It also has an inertial navigation system (INS) and GPS for guidance.