The Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan, drawn in 1999, is aimed at acquiring 2800-3000 155 mm guns, the projection includes 814 truck-mounted guns, 1580 towed guns, 100 tracked self-propelled guns, and 180 wheeled self-propelled guns by 2027. Some progress in the segment:-
- 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers are already on order from BAE Systems in collaboration with Mahindra; deliveries have already commenced.
- 100 K-9 Vajra 155 mm howitzer by L&T in partnership with Korea’s Hanwa; with 51 Guns already have been supplied by L&T
- The indigenously being developed ATAGS is undergoing user trials — a nomenclature for Army trying out the weapon. It is developed by the DRDO in partnership with TATA Power SED and Bharat Forge. The Defence Acquisition Council has given a go ahead for 150 ATAGS, but a contract is yet to be signed.
- Dhanush, a gun made by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), is already being inducted in phases. A total of 114 pieces are on order.
- India has some 1,000 of the 130 mm M-46 artillery guns. Around 180 guns were upgraded by Israeli firm Soltam in 2008. OFB has upgraded 130 mm artillery pieces and named ‘Sharang’. A total of 300 of the 130 mm guns are being up-gunned to 155 mm by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). The entire lot will be supplied by 2022.
- Elbit Systems has won a bid to ATHOS (Autonomous Towed Howitzer Ordnance System) to the Indian Army, in a deal that could go up to Rs 9000-10000 Crores. Cost negotiation is on get 400 pieces from Elbit of Israel in a ready-to-use condition and the remaining 1180 will be assembled here in India by the foreign supplier in a partnership with Indian partner.