Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 16
Despite the recent success of indigenously made artillery guns, the process of acquiring some 1,580 pieces from a foreign supplier is progressing and is now at the stage of cost negotiation.
According to sources, so far there is no indication to have locally made guns to fill in the numbers for which negotiation is on. “Cost negotiation is on get 400 pieces from Elbit of Israel in a ready-to-use condition and the remaining 1,180 will be assembled here in India by the foreign supplier in a partnership with Indian partner Bharat Forge,” the source said.
So far there is no discussion on restricting foreign supplies to a particular number and then filing in gaps by making more of the indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) and the Dhanush.
The ATAGS is undergoing user trials — a nomenclature for Army trying out the weapon. It is developed by the DRDO in partnership with Tata Power SED and Bharat Forge. The Defence Acquisition Council has okayed 150 ATAGS, but a contract is yet to be signed.
The Dhanush, a gun made by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), is already being inducted in phases. A total of 114 pieces are on order.
The induction of ‘Sharang’ upgraded artillery pieces has commenced at the just concluded def-expo. A total of 300 of the 130 mm guns of Soviet parentage are being up-gunned to 155 mm by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The entire lot will be supplied by 2022.
India has some 1,000 of the 130 mm M-46 artillery guns. Around 180 guns were upgraded by Israeli firm Soltam in 2008.
The Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan, drawn in 1999, is aimed at acquiring 2,800-3,000 155 mm/52-calibre guns of all kinds and 155 mm/39-calibre lightweight howitzers by 2027.
The projection includes 814 truck-mounted guns, 1,580 towed guns, 100 tracked self-propelled guns, 180 wheeled self-propelled guns and 145 ultra-light howitzers.
Elbit Systems has won a bid to ATHOS (Autonomous Towed Howitzer Ordnance System) 2052 to the Indian Army, in a deal that could go up to Rs 9,000- 10,000 crore.
The DRDO is pushing to increase local production over import.
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