Defexpo 2006 – Artillery Modernization in India

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Several artillery modernization programs are underway in India with progress at different stages. Modification of 180 Russian made M46 guns by installation of 155mm/45 Cal barrels, provided by Israel’s Soltam, is in progress. A parallel program for the modernization of 360 Bofors FH77B 155/39 mm guns that are currently in service is being considered. Three companies, including Elbit Systems, Tata and BAE are competing for this program. The modifications will consist of replacing the barrel and breechblock and strengthening the under carriage. These programs will be followed by the acquisition of up to 1,400 new 155mm/52 Cal guns, including both towed and motorized versions. The final selection process for suppliers is in progress. Two candidates are short listed for the motorized version – SWS from Sweden and Soltam from Israel.

For the mobile (truck mounted) gun, India is still evaluating proposals from Sweden, France and Israel. Further acquisitions are currently being considered, especially truck mounted mobile guns and self-propelled howitzers to support armor formations equipped with T-90 and Arjun tanks. The SP gun will probably be mounted on a tracked chassis in order to allow the guns to keep pace with armored units.

Further improvements are planned for the Pinaka truck mounted multi-barrel rocket system. Although this system is in production, only one regiment has been fielded to date. For this program Israel’s IMI is proposing to upgrade Pinaka systems with their Trajectory Correction System (TCS), which has recently entered service with the MLRS operated by the Israel Defense Forces. The TCS can now handle trajectory correction for multiple rockets, improving the effectiveness, accuracy and survivability of rocket artillery units. India is also reported to be interested in the Russian 300mm Smerch long-range multi-barrel rocket system. At least one example of this system was sent to India to undergo a series of field tests in 2002 but no details on a formal order have been released so far.

Under a different program the Russian defense export agency Rosoboronexport and the Indian Defense Ministry have signed a contract to deliver modernized extended range Grad rockets for the Indian army. The new rocket increases the Grad’s effective range from 20 km to 40 km.

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