India prioritising artillery modernisation

Contributor:  Richard de Silva
Posted:  12/20/2011  12:00:00 AM EST
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Tags:   India

The provision and upgrade of modern artillery systems is of utmost importance to Indian Armed Forces, according to the nation’s defence minister.

AK Anthony made the statement this month to Parliament, as he outlined both the reason for the country’s notorious lack of new gun acquisition, and its near obsession with staying on top of military technology developments as it continues to highlight concerns over bordering rival powers.

"Arms and equipment including gun systems in the Indian artillery are available in adequate quantity,” says Anthony.

“[However] modernisation of artillery, which entails replacement of the equipment of older technology, is an on-going process and is being given priority to ensure that the artillery remains equipped with modern weapons systems," he said.

The statement comes alongside confirmation that the country will be hosting a large-scale artillery conference in June as part of Defence IQ’s world-renowned Future Artillery series.

In the same report, the minister was keen to stress that the current stocks had shown no major problems over the years, and that any “shortages of certain types/components of ammunition as and when reported, have been addressed adequately."

Addressing the suspension of dealings with Sweden’s Bofors AB and the minimal procurement of artillery since the 1980s, Anthony noted that these howitzers had since been indigenized by the government’s Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), which manufactures of all key components, including “barrel, breach mechanism, muzzle break, loading trough, recoil system along with the elevating and traversing cylinders” and maintains regular supply to the Army.

In its long-term strategy, India has admitted to being in the process of procuring various weapons systems as part of its services-wide overhaul. Analysts indicate that this will include the provision of over two thousand new units consisting of four new models of guns.

Since the beginning of the year, the armed forces has floated tenders for 1,580 155mm 53calibre towed guns, 100  further 155mm 52calibre tracked guns, 180 155mm 52calibre wheeled and self-propelled guns, and 145 155mm 39calibre ultra-light howitzers, running into a total cost of several billion pounds.

Earlier this month, Indian officials confirmed that the nation will be advancing its pact with Afghanistan as allied forces continue to withdraw from the region. Much of this will involve counter-insurgency training for new soldiers, but India also plans to provide heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and other systems in efforts to keep rebuilding efforts on course.

This March, Defence IQ’s flagship Future Artillery conference marks its 10th anniversary year in London. Following on from 2011’s largest event – featuring 230 delegates from over 30 nations – the conference welcomes its newly formed Advisory Board is established and specialist streams focusing on CRAM, Joint Fires, Mortars and C2.

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Richard de Silva Contributor:   Richard de Silva

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