$155M for Artillery: Armenia Signs Another Arms Deal with India
The Indian press, referring to a November 9 statement released by the local Bharat Forge company, reports that the latter’s military-industrial subsidiary, Kalyani Strategic System, has received a US$ 155million order to export 155 mm artillery gun systems to Armenia over the next three years.
Although Bharat Forge didn’t disclose the identity of the customer, the Indian Business Standard news site writes that according to its sources in the Indian Defense Ministry the contract was signed with the Armenian government.
Ajai Shukla, who penned the Business Standard article, is a retired Indian army colonel who covers security issues in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific region. He writes a regular column for the Business Standard and contributes articles to The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera and the South China Morning Post.
Shukla’s sources in the Indian Defense Ministry say information about the military order was made public due to regulations set by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) (such information can affect the share price). Bharat Forge publicly disclosed the order received by its subsidiary to the Bombay Stock Exchange, which was picked up by the media.
Shukla notes that Bharat Forge is becoming a major player in the field of self-propelled artillery, as is another Indian company, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL). Both collaborate with India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to produce the 155 mm ATAGS towed howitzer. Shukla notes this is a heavier, more powerful and longer-range weapon than the same-caliber MGS (Mounted Gun System). But these two are only part of Bharat Forge’s arsenal.
The Indian The Print website writes that according to sources Kalyani Strategic System, a subsidiary of Bharat Forge, probably received this $155.5 million order from one of the countries in the Middle East.
According to The Print, in 2020, Saudi Arabia tested the Bharat 52, a 155 mm towed howitzer with a range of 41 km (ATAGS is 48 km). The Saudis also tried the Garuda 105 of the same manufacturer, which is a 105-mm howitzer mounted on an armored chassis.
In October, Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan led a delegation to a defense industry exhibition (DefExpo-2022) in Gandhinagar, India displaying locally manufactured armaments and defense systems.
This latest arms deal follows a September 2022 $245 million contract Armenia signed with India to purchase Indian-made Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, anti-tank rockets and various types of ammunition.
In 2020, Armenia ordered four Swathi mobile radar units, at a cost of $40 million, from India. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the radar, designed to detect and track incoming artillery and rocket fire for targeting, were delivered in 2021.