Artillery types

To counter China, the Indian army is preparing to modernize its artillery : The Tribune India


Tribune press service

Ajay Banerjee

New Delhi, September 27

As part of the Indian Army Artillery Modernization Project, additions are being made to counter China in the Himalayas. This includes longer rocket range, trailing ammo, UAVs with greater stamina in addition to new native guns.

“Very short range” missile test

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) conducted two successful test flights of an ultra-short-range air defense system missile from a portable, ground-based launcher on Tuesday.

Go high tech, says defense industry

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday called on India’s defense industry to identify and manufacture advanced technologies. He was addressing the fifth annual session of the Society of Indian Defense Manufacturers.

Last year, on the basis of an emergency purchase, the Ministry of Defense approved the purchase of vagrancy ammunition for the army. These are ready to ship now. Floating rounds can stay airborne for a set period of time, scout targets, and strike when aimed from the ground.

Among the multiple gun types introduced are the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), Sharang, ULH, Vajra, and Dhanush. On ATAGS, sources said: “Test firings went well. Field evaluation trials are complete. Tata and Bharat Forge, the two makers of the gun designed by DRDO are ready.

Ultra-light howitzers – 145 imported from the United States – are regularly introduced. Seven regiments – 18 guns each – of the ULH were inducted and deployed in the northern sector.

Sharang – the 130mm gun which is being upgraded to 155mm – has three regiments operational and another on the way.

In all, 300 cannons must be armed

“The current firing rate is two regiments a year, we need to do three regiments a year,” sources said.

The success of the K9 Vajra gun – which operates on tank-like tracks – in eastern Ladakh led the Ministry of Defense to approve the purchase of another 100 such guns. Originally the gun was designed for the deserts, its adaptation to the Himalayan winter includes batteries that work in the cold and lubricants that do not freeze.

On Dhanush Gun, sources said that the first regiment is deployed, the second is expected by March 2023.

The future of long artillery includes long-range rockets. A guided rocket with a range of 75 km from the Pinaka launcher is to be introduced. The ‘Smerch’ multi-cannon can fire at a range of 90 km. The DRDO was asked to work on a rocket that could fire 125 km.

One of the four Pinaka regiments was inducted along the northern borders. Another six Pinaka regiments were engaged and delivery was expected soon.

With the introduction of long-range rockets, aerial surveillance is needed to find targets. The army is looking for vertical launch drones with a range of 80 km. The system will direct fire into enemy areas, including beyond visual range.

Arty plan a few years late

The modernization of the Army’s artillery has ambitious needs. Called the Field Artillery Rationalization Plan, and drawn up in 1999, it talks about acquiring 2,800 guns by 2027. Reaching those numbers could take up to a decade or more from now.

#China #Indian Army