Ever since the Bofors scandal erupted in 1987, the Indian Army has not had a new 155mm artillery gun inducted in service. This changed with the successful completion of trials of the indigenously-developed 155mm/45 cal ‘Dhanush’, also known as the ‘desi Bofors’. The purchase of Bofors gun in the 1980’s included the technology transfer to OFB. The 155mm/45 cal towed gun, manufactured under the aegis of the OFB, is an improved version of the Bofors design in terms of range, accuracy, consistency, low and high angle fire and shoot and scoot ability.
Speaking at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in January 2017, the Raksha Mantri said, “India, after more than 30 years, has successfully developed its own gun. The 155mm/45-calibre Dhanush howitzer has been tested and field trials have been completed. More than 50 per cent of the components of the selfpropelled gun, being made by a joint venture of Larsen & Toubro and Samsung of Korea, are made in India”. The Raksha Mantri added that the first lot will be ordered, probably in the current financial year and that this is one step ahead of the ‘Make in India’ effort, as it is“Designed, Developed and Made in India.” The Raksha Mantri further stated that, “after successfully completing field trials of indigenously-developed 155mm/45 cal Dhanush Towed Howitzer, another towed gun – an improved version of the Dhanush – the 155mm/52 cal is in the final stages of being ordered.
In the Artillery modernisation plan, the Indian army needs 814 Mounted Guns, 1580 Towed Guns, 100 tracked Self Propelled guns,180 wheeled Self Propelled guns and 145 Ultra Light Howitzers at a total cost of Rs one lakh crore. The 155mm/52cal Advance Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) being developed by the DRDO with private participation, is an upgrade of the 155mm/45cal Dhanush and will be ready for production by 2019. As per experts on the subject, the 155mm/ 52cal is an optimum technical parameter within its class in achieving maximum range with highest accuracy. With this development, India becomes one of the very few countries which can design and manufacture artillery guns. The success of Dhanush has given a much needed boost to the Make in India campaign. It is 87 percent indigenous baring the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) which is from BAE Systems and the sighting system, which is from SAGEM.
INDIA TRAINS ANA TO COUNTER IEDs
The Indian Army has trained as many as 50 Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel in countering the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) since 2014, at the College of Military Engineering (CME), Pune. As per the CME, every year, a contingent of 15 to 20 personnel, including officers of the rank of Captain and Major, come for the training at the faculty ofcombat engineering.Currently, the centre conducts about 10 different courses, including short-duration capsule courses as well. The duration of the course is one-month, which includes both the stages — basic and advance — of handling IEDs.
Besides officers of friendly nations, the centre also imparts training to the Border Security Force(BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and state police personnel. As per the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), as many as 1,514 civilian casualties (496 deaths and 1,018 injured) due to IEDs were recorded in Afghanistan till September 2016.