TO HIT PROCUREMENT OF 155MM GUNS
By Bulbul Singh
12 Jun 09. The blacklisting of Singapore Technologies, IMI of Israel and five other domestic and overseas defence companies by the Indian government last week will hit India’s 155mm/52calibre purchase program, as the Singapore company was short-listed for the Ultra-light 155mm/52 calibre program.
The procurement of 155mm guns has been underway since 1999, but the process has still to fructify. In 2005, the procurement process got hit as the government blacklisted, the front-runner, Denel of South Africa which was allegedly involved in kick backs.
PURCHASE OF 400 TOWED GUNS
Meanwhile the Indian government has once again entered the global market for the purchase of 400 155mm/52 calibre guns worth $450 million and then undertake license production of around 1200 guns on a technology transfer basis.
The delivery of the 400 guns will be completed in six years from the time of signing the contract in various phases. The towed guns should be able to fire to a range of 40 kilometres and the gun must be able to achieve
accuracy and consistency with standard projectiles in deserts at mean fighting range i.e. 80 per cent of maximum range. Besides, the guns should have a rate of fire of burst rate at 3 rounds in 20 seconds, intense rate fire of 15 rounds in 3 minutes, and sustained fire rate of 90 rounds in 75 minutes.
The gun system must achieve a minimum traverse of 23 degrees either side of the elevation and must have the minimum possible crew, but not more than seven men including ammunition numbers and driver. The guns will be provided for capability of operation by day and night and to fix its own location and orient itself, capability to receive gun data from the command post in digital as well as audio form, have the facility to lay the gun automatically at the desired bearing and elevation with manual override. An INS-based sighting/gun aiming system is required for indirect laying and a telescopic sight for direct firing must be provided with the gun system and should have optical sight backup. Other requirements include that the gun system should have an integrated muzzle velocity radar (MVR). An Auxiliary Propulsion Unit (APU)must cater for power requirements of the gun while firing and mobility with capability to move at a speed of more than 10 kilometres per hour on roads and more than 5 kilometres per hour cross country and thereafter be able to operate the system for six hours without refuelling. The APU should be
able to provide 360 degrees of speed/shift(pivot) capability. In the event of an APU failure, a back-up should be provided including battery charging. The gun should be capable of firing the entire family of in-service 155mm ammunition including standard NATO ammunition. The gun should be able to able to achieve firing/mobility parameters without major stoppages and breakages and be able to move in all types of terrain. The turning circle of the weapon system when being towed with a Field Artillery Tractor must not exceed 23 meters and the system should have a ground clearance of not less than 300 mm.
The safety arrangements of the gun system should ensure that gun does not fire unless the breech is fully closed, and once the breech is closed, it should not open without physical action by the operator or unless the gun has fired.