Adding Momentum to ‘Make In India’: Indian Army Proposes Rs 6,500 Crore Deal for Procurement of 400 Indigenous Howitzers

Indian Army

New Delhi: The Indian Army has moved a proposal to the Defence Ministry to buy 400 howitzers from Indian firms. This initiative will further accelerate the ongoing push to promote indigenously designed and developed weapon systems. 

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“A proposal for buying 400 155mm 52 calibre towed gun systems (TGS) along with towing vehicles from Indian firms under the Buy Indian-IDDM category has been moved to the Defence Ministry. The government is expected to soon take a decision on the TGS at a high-level meeting,” senior military officials told a media agency.

The new 155 mm/52 Calibre Towed Gun Systems (TGS) are going to be the mainstay gun of the artillery in the future, according to defence experts. The Indian Army’s Regiment of Artillery is looking to use the expertise of Indian Industry to produce 155 mm/52 calibre Towed Gun System, which will be lighter, versatile and cater for future technological advancements. Indian Army has already issued a tender for buying 307 Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems (ATAGS) along with one for finding a mounted gun system for its requirements along borders with China and Pakistan.

The Indian Designed, Developed and Manufactured howitzer would mean that it would be totally Indian in all ways. The Army wants the guns to be lighter in weight and easier to deploy in high-altitude areas like the older Bofors guns. The procurement process is part of the Army’s modernisation plan with indigenous guns and is likely to be completed by the year 2042.

The Regiment of Artillery is in the process of procuring niche technology including loitering munitions, swarm drones, and tactical remotely piloted aerial systems in order to augment and strengthen its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance architecture to achieve enhanced battlefield transparency. The induction of these potent niche fire power systems will enable delivery of decisive and destructive firepower and will restore the status of artillery as the ‘Arm of Decision’, reported a media outlet. Due focus is also being given to ensure networked and automated systems and as part of this process, major upgrades are happening shortly in the Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS). Even the Battlefield Surveillance System (BSS) is being fielded shortly, the media report further stated quoting a source.

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The Indian Army has concluded four contracts for the procurement of 155 mm howitzer in the last decade. These gun systems have already been inducted and more number of Regiments are being equipped with these guns which includes Dhanush, Sharang, Ultra-Light Howitzer (ULH) and K-9 Vajra Self Propelled Guns. Dhanush Guns are an electronic upgrade of Bofors Guns, while the Sharang Guns have been up-gunned from 130mm to 155mm calibre. Seven Regiments have already been equipped with ULHs while five have been equipped with self-propelled guns.