In a major boost to India's artillery modernisation programme, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Bharat Earth Movers Ltd. (BEML) have unveiled their latest product, the 155mm 52 calibre mounted gun system, that can target enemy locations from a distance of 42km. The unveiling of the artillery gun, which will be deployed on high hills in border regions with Pakistan and China after induction by the the Army, happened at the ongoing DefExpo 2018 in Chennai.
Indian' artillery programme has not taken off since the Bofors scandal in 1986.
Describing the uniqueness of this project, head of OFB S.K. Chaurasia said that it has been completely and independently designed and manufactured by OFB in association with BEML and BEL and is therefore a shining example of ‘Make in India.’
"The gun is equipped with a state-of-the-art laying and sighting system such as GPS-aided INS, muzzle velocity feeder data management, day and night firing and ballasting computer system capability," Chaurasia said.
The base vehicle used for the gun system is the BEML-TATRA 8X8 truck with all-differential lockable and a powerful 300KW (402HP) engine, which provides it a power-to-weight ratio of more than 10KW/tonne. This is a high-mobility vehicle with independent wheel suspension and swinging half axles to provide enhanced cross-country mobility. The vehicle has a cruising speed of 80km/hr on road and more than 30km/hr in cross-country terrain and has a cruising range of 1,000km without refuelling.
"The armament used in the 155mm 52 calibre gun has a target destruction capability of approximately 42km," Chaurasia said, adding that the gun system combines the advantage of the high-mobility performance of a truck with the accurate long-range firepower of a 155mm 52 calibre gun and also its on-board ammunition storage capability of 18 shells.
“It can be automatically deployed in any terrain and can perform a mission independently. With its high strategic manoeuvrability in all types of terrain, it will serve as an all-weather reinforcement for the infantry and will be a present force multiplier for the Indian artillery,” OFB claims in a statement.