On 18 May India got its first artillery gun after Bofors, made by a Swedish company, making it a time gap of three decades. Bofors scandal had come to public notice during 1980s and it had a major impact on the process of modernizing Indian army at that time. India has received a couple of M777s from the US. These are a part of a contract with the global weapons heavyweight. The deal itself is worth $750 million. As per the contract which was signed in November 2016, the US is supposed to provide India 145 ultra-light howitzers (ULHs). Over the next couple of years, the US will be providing India ready-built weapons.
Some important details
BAE Systems have made these M777 guns. They are supposed to be taken to the firing range at Pokhran, Rajasthan, where they are supposed to be tested. These howitzers are supposed to have a highest striking range of 30 km. 25 of these guns are supposed to be coming in flyaway condition and the makers are supposed to assemble the rest. They will be doing this in a partnership with Mahindra Defence. These guns are supposed to be deployed on the border shared with China. These borders are also known as northern and eastern sector borders.
Modernizing the army
Indian government is expected to spend more than INR 20,000 crore in order to modernize the national army. Special focus in this case is being given on improving its artillery firepower and it is expected that these artillery guns would go a major way in boosting the said area. It is also expected to improve India’s overall military capacity by leaps and bounds. In all, India is supposed to acquire five kinds of artillery guns and this is expected to add to its ammunition – something that will come in handy at the borders shared with Pakistan and China.
Importance of these guns
These ULHs have 39 caliber guns. The entire package of 145 guns is expected to be delivered by June 2021. By 2020 India wants to buy 3053 such guns and send them across to the 169 regiments of the army. In fact, these guns are said to be very important in border warfare and considering how India’s border relations are with countries such as China and Pakistan this is going to be an important addition without the shadow of a doubt. These guns come really handy in mountainous warfare and India happens to have such borders with both the above mentioned countries.
Make in India
The manufacturing of remaining 120 guns will be part of Modi’s Make in India campaign and as you know already the assembling will be done by BAE Systems and Mahindra Defence. Apart from this, 40 Indian companies will be expected to be part of the supply chain of the entire process. Indian army is developing a new sector called Mountain Strike Corps at Panagarh in West Bengal. Soldiers of this particular division are expected to use these guns. The primary aim of the entire exercise is to counter the influence of China.