INDIA ON HUNT FOR 155 MM TRACKED GUNS
By Bulbul Singh
16 Sep 08. After floating global bids for the procurement of Wheeled and Ultra-light 155 mm guns early this year, the Indian Army last week went on a global bid to buy Tracked 155mm/52 calibre guns.
The purchase is part of the big ticket $8 billion program to replace all existing field artillery guns by the Indian Army into 155mm/52 calibre guns.
Global bids for the $700 million contract have been sent to defence companies in Germany, France, Russia, and United States.
The Indian Army wants the 100 Tracked guns to be delivered within three years from signing of the contract, which means that the guns will be in the Indian Army by 2013, as the procurement process for the guns is likely to be completed in two years.
The Tracked guns will be used to provide fire support to the armoured formations of the Indian Army and will be required to be swift and rugged with an ability to run in the battlefield for up to 96 hours, moving at a speed of up to 100 kilometres and ability to fire while on move.
The vendor would be required to provide product support in terms of maintenance, materials, and spares for a period of 20 years. Even after the mandatory period the vendor would be required to give at least two years notice to the Indian government prior to closing the production line so as to enable a Life Time Buy of all spares before the closure of the said production line. In addition the vendor would also have to intimate any up gradation and modernization of the 155mm/52 calibre Tracked gun during its life cycle.
After the final selection, the vendor will have to train the Indian crew on the gun at the vendor’s premises. A total of 21 senior and junior level Indian officers, seven people from Quality Control, and 15 people from the Maintenance Department will be trained by the vendor at both the Indian and overseas location.
The gun must have requisite agility to respond to the dictates of frequent deployment and re-deployment and be provided with fire control equipment to facilitate a high degree of autonomous functioning.
The 155mm/52 calibre gun’s movement should be compatible with the Main Battle Tank in service with the Indian Army.
The other requirements include that the crew, while firing the gun as well as on move, should be housed inside a turret which has protection against small arm fire splinters of 155 mm bursting at 50 meters and NBC attacks.
The Fire Control System should have the capability to fix its own location and orient itself; able to receive Command Post data in digital as well as audio form and have the facility to lay the gun automatically at the desired bearing and elevation within manual override. The gun would have to be provided with an optical telescope for direct firing, suitably integrated with a Laser Range Finder and Thermal Imaging Sight for night firing and be capable to engage both static as well as moving targets.
The gun should be provided with operator-controlled, power assisted loading devices to feed the ammunition for loading and must be compatible to fire all in-service 155 mm ammunition and also to fire contemporary 155mm ammunition on the world market.
The gun should be provided with a secure and integrated communications system from the command post the gun, and also for intra-communication within gun to gun and ammunition personnel.
For safety purposes, the gun should not fire unless the breech is fully closed and incorporate other advanced safety features. The Nuclear Biological Chemical; (NBC) protection system should have sensors to automatically activate the system.
The design and construction features require that the system should be modular to allow easy accessibility and to ensure quick replacement of assemblies and sub-assemblies in the field.
The Indian government has made it essential for the vendor to transfer technology for maintenanc