S Vishnu Sharma, INN/Chennai, @svs037
Things appeared bright for Indian Army recently for a major move was made towards capacity enhancement recently at Devlali Field Firing Range.
Globally combat proven M777 A2 ultra light howitzers, K-9 Vajra-Tracked self propelled guns and 6×6 field artillery tractors to the service of the nation at a function held there.
The move was made in the presence of Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman which added special fervour to the whole event. Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Ram Rao Bhamre, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat were among others present.
The 155mm, 39 calibre ultra light howitzers have been procured from USA under government to government foreign military sales and will be assembled in India by BAE Systems in partnership with Mahindra Defence.
The Gun System is versatile, light weight and can be heli lifted, thereby providing the much needed flexibility in employment in various terrains obtainable in the country.
The Howitzer is in service in the US, Canadian, Australian and some other armies of the world. It has proven its mettle in difficult going areas of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The first ten K9 Vajra 155mm/52 calibre guns have been imported from Hanwha Techwin of South Korea in Semi Knocked Down state and have been assemble by L&T in India.
The balance 90 Guns will be largely manufactured in India with some major assemblies coming from South Korea. Its induction will give a huge fillip to the firepower capability of Indian Army on our western borders.
The 6×6 field artillery tractor has been indigenously developed by Ashok Leyland and will provide the much awaited replacement for the ageing fleet of Artillery Gun Towing Vehicles.
Dedication of these equipment to the Nation also give a major impetus to ‘Make In India’ initiative of the Government. The event included and impressive display of equipment and firepower by the Guns of the Indian Artillery.
Also on display were indigenous gun systems/surveillance and target acquisition systems that have been recently introduced in service.