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By Col Ashwani Sharma,
Just lately, the Corps of Indian Artillery commemorated its elevating day, that is the appropriate time to revisit its formidable rationalization plan and its progress to date. Indian Military’s Discipline Artillery Rationalisation Programme, conceived within the Nineties, envisaged upgrading and standardization of Artillery weapons to 155 mm, just like Bofors weapons acquired in 1986. The popular caliber was 155/52 primarily based on desired ranges and different desired operational efficiency parameters. The revised modernization plan in 2007 projected the induction of roughly 2800 gun methods by 2017 in quite a lot of configurations to go well with op necessities. These weapons had been to be procured in numerous configurations like self-propelled tracked (on tank chassis) and wheeled (wheeled automobile), towed, ultra-light and Mounted Gun Methods (fitted on 6×6 autos). These weapons had been to equip the Artillery’s virtually 280 operational regiments (with a dozen geared up with rockets). Extremely-light howitzers have been acquired from BAE and tracked weapons from South Korea, however the bulk of the artillery nonetheless wants upgrading.
As per an in depth research carried out by SIDM in 2020, one of many exceptional defence industrial developments during the last decade has been the large strides made in indigenous artillery. There are a variety of gun manufacturing hubs and MSMEs within the nation which have created a self-sufficient ecosystem within the nation. DRDO’s ARDE possesses sufficient functionality by way of required information and data, although it’s a consistently evolving area. Massive Indian defence OEMs like L&T, TATA Superior Methods and Bharat Forge have arrange gun manufacturing strains throughout the nation to compete with the erstwhile state-owned ordnance factories. SIDM’s research report additional states that there exists the aptitude to not simply construct weapons throughout the nation but additionally an ecosystem to refit, improve and export them. Orders, in fact, have been considerably gradual to return. The military’s DG Artillery, Lt Common T.Ok. Chawla, not too long ago instructed the media that the military was ‘hand holding’ the home trade to make sure indigenous tasks just like the Superior Towed Array Gun System and the OFB-produced Dhanush howitzer to satisfy their necessities.
ATAGS deserves a particular praise being a Greenfield undertaking, designed and developed by profitable partnership between DRDO and the Indian Non-public sector. Regardless of just a few critics, and some hiccups, the gun system has many ‘firsts’ to its credit score – 25L chamber, lengthy ranges and fast and sustained charge of fireplace, to call just a few. In-built security utilizing a number of sensors (IoT) is novel. Its mobility in excessive altitude and deserts too has taken its critics abruptly.
As a part of its defence indigenization drive, the MoD banned the imports of 155 mm howitzers after December 2021. The military could have no selection however to show to indigenous gun trade. One other essential side introduced out by the SIDM report is that Indian R&D and trade have greater than sufficient functionality to design and develop any kind of gun system throughout the nation. All that’s wanted is a system to harness the potential.
FARP, nevertheless, must be modified. The truth is, contemplating the fast adjustments within the nature of warfare led to by the fast-emerging applied sciences, there’s a particular want to vary the proposed profile. Gradual acquisition course of inadvertently supplies a twofold alternative; (i) exploit indigenous functionality to satisfy all the necessities, be it new gun methods or upgrades; (ii) steadiness out gun tube artillery items with extra Self-propelled Rockets and Autonomous Munition Models. Equip extra variety of Artillery regiments with rockets, missiles and guided munitions and scale back the variety of items with gun tubes. Exterior ballistics and precision drastically improve impact on the terminal goal and save enormously on prices and logistics.
(The creator is Editor, South Asia Defence & Strategic Evaluation. Views expressed are private and don’t mirror the official place or coverage of Monetary Categorical On-line. )