Five guns from the total order for 114 are likely to be handed over by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to the army’s Central Ordnance Depot in Jabalpur on March 26. By the end of this year, the army will induct a Dhanush regiment, consisting of 18 guns, officials said. The guns will be deployed along the borders with Pakistan and China.
The Dhanush gun, which has a calibre of 155x45mm, is the first indigenous artillery gun of this calibre. It is also the first long-range artillery gun to be produced in India, having a range of 38 km. In army parlance it is classified as ‘medium artillery’. The army’s artillery arm has ‘medium regiments’, with guns of this calibre and also of 130mm calibre. The Bofors, which had played a crucial role in targeting Pakistani military positions during the 1999 Kargil War, has a similar 155mm calibre.
The Dhanush is equipped with a navigation-based sighting system, on board ballistic computation and an advanced day and night direct-firing system. The self-propulsion unit allows the gun to deploy itself in mountainous terrains with ease.
Induction of the gun is part of the army’s ‘mediumisation’ of the artillery — replacing ‘field guns’ of calibre such as 105 mm and 120 mm with medium guns. Mediumisation also includes the induction of the M777 Ultra Light Howitzer and the K-9 Vajra self-propelled gun last November.
This project is to enhance the army’s firepower by having more guns of higher calibre, officials said.
Both Indian and Pakistani armies had fired artillery guns during ceasefire violations along the Line of Control earlier this month.
The COD supplies all kinds of armament, including artillery guns, to the army. The handing over event will take place at the Gun Carriage Factory in Jabalpur. The OFB had received the bulk production clearance from the army and the defence ministry on February 18 for producing 114 Dhanush guns.
The Dhanush gun has been evaluated under harsh conditions in several phases, according to officials.