India's first indigenous, long-range artillery gun "Dhanush" has passed its final test at Pokhran, paving the way for its induction into the army. A senior official said on Friday. SK Singh, the Senior General manager of Gun Carriage Factory (GCF) told the reporters that between June 2-6, fifty rounds of shells each were fired from six Dhanush guns.
Dhanush is a 155mm x 45mm calibre artillery gun and is also called the " desi Bofors". " Sixguns in battery information (at one go and at one target) successfully fired 101 rounds on June 7," Singh informed.
The gun has been developed by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Kolkata, after going through the design documents running into over 12,000 pages. These documents were given to India as part of the first phase of " Transfer of Technology" (ToT) under the Bofors gun deal inked in the late 1980s.
This indigenous artillery has been manufactured by a Gun Carriage Factory based in Jabalpur with each 155-mm gun costing about Rs. 14.50 crore. Each shell costs Rs 1 lakh. The first prototype of Dhanush was developed in 2014, followed by another 11, which fired 4,200 rounds.
"The gun has passed tests under severe cold conditions in Sikkim and Leh and in hot and humid weather in Balasore, Odisha, Babina in Jhansi and in the desert of Pokhran in Rajasthan", Singh said. A year ago, during the trial in Pokhran the muzzle and barrel of howitzer exploded twice. However, a probe by different Ministry of Defence departments did not find any fault with the gun during the two incidents according to Singh. He also said that Dhanush is among the finest artillery guns in terms of accuracy.
Explaining about the specifications, the official said that it has a strike range of 38 kilometres and 81 percent of its components are indigenously sourced and would be scaled up to 90 percent by 2019. Besides features like electronic gun-laying and sighting systems, the indigenous gun's hitting range was 11km more than the imported Bofors guns, he added.
Singh told to the reporters that 12 guns would be supplied to the Army in the current fiscal while the total number for the initial phase is 114 guns. He also said that, under an agreement which is to be signed soon, a total of 414 Dhanush guns would be supplied to the Indian Army.
"The Dhanush project has received support and active cooperation from other ordinance factories and PSUs such as SAIL, BEL, and many private sector companies. Their support has made the project a huge success," Singh said.