Wait for Dhanush, India’s first indigenous Bofors to end soon
After US’ M-777 and K-9 Vajra guns from Korea, were symbolically inducted by army in November — Dhanush, the indigenous version of Swedish Bofors would be following soon. Going was faster for weapons purchased globally. Dhanush had to fire 5,000 shells during multiple rounds of trials before final selection. Three incidents of malfunctioning and a CBI inquiry had also marred the project. Same malfunction was reported in M-777 and K-9 too though.
Now what remains for Dhanush is a final appraisal under, what is known as general staff quality requirements (GSQR) evaluation. Dhanush has a higher range and advanced systems as compared to original Bofors.
Only paper work, ordnance factory which has made the guns hopes that GSQR evaluation would be completed in January so that the guns can be finally inducted in February. A ceremony has been planned at School of Artillery Deolali near Nashik in February, which is expected to be attended by Prime Narendra Modi, said sources.
The howitzers are being made at Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur a unit of the ordnance factory board (OFB). It is also the first ever big gun to be made by ordnance factory which so far has been only manufacturing light artillery systems.
The project which began in 2010 will finally be concluded eight years down the line. Six guns would be inducted during the ceremony. After that another 12 would be dispatched by December 2019.
During the next calender year, army is expected to get 48 guns of 155×45 mm calibre in all. These include 18 of Dhanush and 30 Sarang guns. The latter are an upgraded version of 130mm guns already with the army. The Sarang will be made at the ordnance factory Kanpur and a contract has already been signed.
For Dhanush, the GCF will have to wait for the final GSQR evaluation on the basis of which it would be getting the bulk production order. Officials say what remains to be done now is merely a formality. GSQR evaluation is only compilation of reports of earlier trials.
The GCF will be supplying 114 guns in all, in three years after the first batch is sent. On the basis of it an order of another 400 guns would be placed by army. On the other hand Sarang would go in the batches of 30, 70, and 100 each on yearly basis, the source said. The production capacity at GCF will have to scaled for meeting the future requirement, said an officer.
The factory has also created infrastructure to provide spares for the existing fleet o f Bofors guns.
GCF set up in early 1900s is expecting a major workload in coming days. A prototype of 155×52 mm mounted guns has been developed and the factory hopes to bid as army plans to place an order for 814 pieces. The major chunk of 155×52 guns for which the process of private procurement has started will be made on transfer of technology basis at GCF.