The Indian Army recently received three 155 mm artillery guns named Dhanush. The howitzers are made by Gun Carriage Factory in Jabalpur.
Sanjay Shrivastava, Joint General Manager and PRO of Gun Carriage Factory, said that, “Three 155 mm howitzers (Dhanush) have been handed over to the army recently for user’s trial. Another consignment of three guns is being readied and these howitzers too will be delivered to the army shortly.”
The towed howitzers have a strike range of 38 km, and are developed by Ordinance Factory Board at Kolkata, based on the designs and documents brought to India during the Bofors gun deal as part of the first stage of Transfer of Technology (ToT) during the 80’s. Dhanush artillery gun, also known as Desi Bofors, costs around Rs 14 Cr. for a single piece.
Dhanush is equipped with latest electronic gun-laying system along with an exceptional sighting system, and is powered with an improved strike range of 11 kms. The Dhanush howitzers received by the Army were tested for 2000 shots under different climatic conditions and hostile areas in the country. The Army is expecting 114 Dhanush artillery guns from GCF for strengthening its firepower. A special team of officers has been stationed at GCF by the Indian Army for monitoring the progress, give feedbacks, and guidance regarding requirement and quality.
The initiative for domestic developed howitzers was taken due to the major political row over suspected kickbacks in 80’s on Swedish Bofors Company. The company was directed to manufacture 39 calibre 155 mm howitzers, but everything got embroiled due to the issue.
The Indian Army was desperate for acquiring 155 mm howitzers for over a decade, and had made a deal with Israeli company Soltam for upgrading the Russian made imported 130 mm guns to 155 mm earlier. However, the project encountered many issues and was closed eventually.
The Defense Acquisition Council asked OFB for manufacturing howitzers four years ago. Former Defense Minister, A.K. Antony, inaugurated a manufacturing centre at GCF on September 22, 2012. GCF had been manufacturing and supplying components and spares for the Bofors howitzer in India during Kargil war.
“The project has received support and active cooperation from other ordnance factories, PSUs such as SAIL, BEL, and many private sector companies. Their support has made the project a huge success,” an Indian Army official said.