Jabalpur, Sep 8: In what would be a shot in the arm for a force that has not had a new 155mm artillery gun inducted since the Bofors scandal of 1987, the Indian Army is set to soon be handed over the indigenously-developed howitzer 'Dhanush', also known as 'desi bofors'.
"Dhanush, the indigenously-developed 155mm gun with 45 calibre having advanced features, is likely to be handed over to the army in November this year," Senior General Manager of Jabalpur's Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), NK Sinha, told PTI here.
The gun, a towed howitzer with a strike range of 38-km, has been developed by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Kolkata, after going through the design and voluminous documents running into more than 12,000 pages which were delivered to India under the first phase of Transfer of Technology (ToT) as part of the Bofors gun deal in late 80s, an official said.
Costing about Rs 14 crore apiece, Dhanush is comparable to most current generation weapons systems which are in use by different countries, the official added.
Along with electronic gun-laying and sighting systems and other features, the indigenously-developed gun has an enhanced 11-km range as against the gun range of 27-km of the imported Bofors.
Indian army had stationed a special team of officers at GCF to help monitor the progress, coordinate proof resources and provide guidance regarding the qualitative requirements vis-a-vis the gun system from the user's perspective, the official said.
"A team from the 506 Army Base Workshop, close to CGF, was constantly providing technical inputs which it acquired for the project for over more than two decades," he added.
The Swedish Bofors company (now owned by Britain's BAE System) could not complete the ToT for the 155mm howitzer with 39 caliber to India as the deal got embroiled in a major political row over alleged kickbacks in 80s.
Subsequently, OFB struggled for a long time to produce the howitzer indigenously despite the fact that it has manufactured and supplied several components or spare parts to keep the Bofors howitzers operational in India, especially during Kargil war.