It took 4,000 rounds and 5 Years for Dhanush to get Yes from Indian Army
Dhanush, the indigenous Howitzer made on the lines of the Swedish Bofors guns, completed the final round of user exploitation trials at Pokhran on Thursday.It was a full battery trial in which 300 shells were fired from six guns. After the tests, Ordnance Factory has reported that accuracy and consistency of the guns were “exceptional and it is now ready for induction”. TOI has reliably learnt that no major issues were reported at the time of firing.
The weapon has been developed by Gun Carriage Factory at Jabalpur which comes under the aegis of the Ordnance Fatory Board (OFB).
Since 2013, the trials were marred by different incidents of misfires. First, the shell burst within the barrel. Subsequent rounds of trials were held successfully but again during user exploitation in 2017 there were two incident of muzzle hits, which led to a further set back. The incidents were reported to be due to ammunition problems and not the gun.
After internal trials at Balasore range in Odisha during March, the guns were again presented to the Army. The trial firing continued for five days. With no incident reported, the OF hopes that the army would finally clear the weapon system.
Dhanush is learnt to have fired the highest number rounds during trials as compared to any other parallel weapon system. So far, 4,000 rounds have been fired from Dhanush. On Thursday, the last day of trials, a 100 rounds were fired from the six guns.
“The gun met all the parameters with accuracy exceeding expectations,” said a source involved in the job.
Sources say now the ball is in the Army’s court to induct the gun. The army needs 400 such guns. So far an order has been given for 18 guns which were simultaneously put for trials.
“Now that the guns have met all the parameters, the army should go ahead and place an order,” said a source.Though developed like the Bofors guns, Dhanush has advanced features. As against the range of 27 kms of the Bofors, Dhanush has a range of 39km. The gun also has electronic systems which the Bofors did not have at that time. Ordnance Factory also claims Dhanush is a much cheaper gun with better features as compared to Bofors and other modern weapons.
One piece of Dhanush Howitzer costs Rs15 crore. “The recently procured American M-777 ultralight Howitzers, which have a manual system of loading, cost Rs33 crore and the K-9 Thunder bought from Korea is priced at Rs42 crore a gun,” said a source.
Dhanush being an indigenously developed system, “the service and support system is also available at home”, according to an official.
Doubts raised related to the recoil system in the gun have been brushed aside as inconsequential. It was pointed out to the OF that the recoil of the old 155×39 calibre guns have been used. However, sources say the same system is used in other advanced guns of higher calibre as well and will not hamper the functioning of the guns.