MoD's nod for production of first home-made 'Dhanush'

MoD's nod for production of first home-made 'Dhanush'

Dhanush gun

Indigenous long-range artillery Dhanush has received the green signal from the Indian Army and Defence Ministry to manufacture 114 of such howitzers, giving a major boost to Indian arms manufacturing.

“Ordnance Factory Board has received the bulk production clearance from the Indian Army and the Defence Ministry on February 18 for production of 114 Dhanush, the first ever indigenous 155 mm x 45 calibre artillery gun. The weapon is the first long-rang artillery gun to be produced in India and it is a major success story of the Make in India initiative,” Gagan Chaturvedi, deputy director general of the OFB said in a statement.

Though it is based on Bofors FH-77B gun, the indigenous gun incorporates several new features that makes it an improved version of the Swedish guns that the Army uses. For instance, Bofors has a range of 27 km while Dhanush can fire up to 39 km.

However, its bulk production was delayed because of the hiccups the gun faced during trials. During the trials, the muzzle of one of the guns was broken and the barrel exploded, leading the OFB engineers to rework on those problems.

The final trials in Jaisalmer in June 2018 in which the guns fired 50 rounds a day at the peak of the summer, however, was successful.

“The performance of Dhanush has been evaluated under arduous conditions in several phases. The guns travelled extensively in a towed and self-propelled mode in all terrains viz. desert and high altitude with each gun clocking over 1,600 km. Such an extensive exercise was carried out by the user for the first time for any gun system under the process of induction,” Chaturvedi said.

The gun is equipped with an inertial navigation-based sighting system, auto-laying facility, onboard ballistic computation and an advanced day and night direct firing system. It has also been electronically upgraded to enhance the firing accuracies and to provide compatibility with various kinds of ammunition.

Dhanush has been mechanically upgraded to fire standard NATO 155 mm ammunition and can accommodate both boll bags and the bi-modular charge system which have resulted in increasing the range.

For decades, the Indian Army didn't purchase any artillery gun since the Bofors guns came in the 1980s, thanks to the ghosts of Bofors. Finally two years ago, the Defence Ministry purchased 145 M-777 ultra lightweight howitzers from the USA and a year later inducted K-9 Vajra, another artillery gun manufactured by Larsen and Toubro based on South Korean technology.