“Dhanush” the India’s first indigenous, long-range artillery gun has passed its final test at Pokhran, paving the way for its induction into the Army, a senior official said on June 8, 2018.
Fifty rounds of shells each were fired from six Dhanush guns between June 2-6, Gun Carriage Factory (GCF) Senior General Manager SK Singh told the reporters.
Dhanush is also called as the “desi Bofors” and is a 155mm x 45mm calibre artillery gun.
“Six guns in battery formation (at one go and at one target) successfully fired 101 rounds on June 7,” Singh informed.
He said that the GCF got the Dhanush project in October 2011 and the first prototype was made in 2014. Later, 11 more prototypes were made from which 4,200 rounds were fired.
The gun has passed tests under severe cold conditions in Sikkim and Leh and in hot and humid weather in Balasore, Odisha, Babina in Jhansi and in the desert of Pokhran in Rajasthan, Singh said.
He said that during the trial in Pokhran a year ago, the muzzle and barrel of the howitzer exploded two times.
A probe by different Ministry of Defence departments into the two incidents, however, did not find any fault with the gun, Singh said, adding that Dhanush is among the finest artillery guns in terms of accuracy.
It has a strike range of 38 kilometres and 81 per cent of its components are indigenously sourced, the official said.
This, he said, would be scaled up to 90 per cent by 2019.
Singh said that 12 guns would be supplied to the Army in the current fiscal while the total number for the initial phase is 114 guns.
He said that, under an agreement to be inked soon, a total of 414 Dhanush guns would be supplied to the Army.
Manufactured by the Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), each of the 155-mm gun costs about Rs 14.50 crore while each shell costs Rs one lakh, a former top official of the factory said.
Besides features like electronic gun-laying and sighting systems, the indigenous gun’s hitting range was 11 km more than the imported Bofors guns, he added.
“The Dhanush project has received support and active cooperation from other ordinance factories and PSUs such as SAIL, BEL, and many private sector companies. Their support has made the project a huge success,” he said.
Six years ago, the Defence Acquisition Council had decided to look for artillery guns within the country and asked OFB to start manufacturing howitzers.
Towards that end, former Defence Minister A K Antony inaugurated a 155-mm gun manufacturing facility at GCF on September 22, 2012.
According to defence experts, the Army needs a huge number of howitzers of different types, and Indian firms, some in partnership with foreign manufacturers, are in the race to fulfil the demand.
The government has also introduced an anti-profiteering law to ensure that the benefit due to a reduction in tax is passed on to the consumers.