Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) of India presents the latest prototype of its 155mm 45 calibre Dhanush towed howitzer at Defexpo 2014, the International Defense Exhibition of New Delhi, India. OFP is an industrial setup functioning under the Department of Defence Production of Ministry of Defence, Government of India.
Manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board, based on technology supplied by Bofors, Dhanush howitzers (155 mm/45 calibre) has a maximum range of 38 km.
Later this month, the Indian-made towed howitzer would be send to Sikkim firing range for another round of trial tests to check its accuracy and range. “We already have a written request from the Army to make 128 of these guns for which we began procuring the material,” an OFB official told Deccan Herald at Defexpo 2014.
The Indian Army has not purchased any artillery gun since the Bofors came in the 1980s. The Swedish howitzers proved its mettle during the Kargil war, but, since then a large of number of artillery guns had to be cannibalized to keep the remaining functional. As repeated efforts to buy new heavy artillery failed in the last decade, the Defence Ministry finally dusted out the old licensing agreement and asked the OFB to manufacture these guns. The Gun Carriage Factory (GCF) in Jabalpur is the integrator, though other units made crucial parts.
Today, six prototypes of the Dhanush howitzer were manufactured. The one displayed at DefExpo is the sixth one, which the OFB claimed to have modified.
The Dhanush is a 155 mm/45 calibre, the use of a longer barrel increases the maximum firing range. Currently, the Indian army standard towed howitzer is the Bofors 155mm 39 calibre which has a maximum effective range of 27 km, while the Dhanush can fire up to 38 km.
The Dhanush is also equipped with a crane and an auto-loading system mounted to the rear and right side of the main gun.
According to Indian Army officials, The Dhanush could fire eight rounds per minute, while the Bofors has a rate of fire of three rounds per 14 seconds. Its also equipped with computerized fire control.