Indian Army deploys medium and long-range artillery to northern border with China
The Indian Army is now in the process of procuring another 100 K9 Vajra tracked self-propelled howitzers. The purchase order has already been approved by the Defence Ministry, Dinakar Peri reports in The Hindu. The Regiment of Artillery is also in the process of inducting loitering munitions while it is also looking at procuring Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).
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At the height of tensions with China in Eastern Ladakh, the Army deployed a regiment of K9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers there (Picture source: Indian Army)
At the height of tensions in Eastern Ladakh, the Army deployed a regiment of K9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers there to augment its long-range firepower in the backdrop of massive build-up by China across the LAC, Dinakar Peri writes. Buoyed by their performance, the Army is procuring another 100 of these self-propelled howitzers.
“Induction of Dhanush, K9 Vajra and M777 Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH) has enhanced reach of artillery firepower on the Northern borders. Operationalisation of Pinaka Multi-Rocket Launch System (MRLS) has added punch to the long-range capability of artillery firepower,” a defence source said, quoted by Dinakar Peri. The Regiment of Artillery celebrated the 196th Gunner’s Day on September 28.
To ensure that these systems performed optimally in extremely cold weather conditions, the Army procured winterisation kits for that regiment to enable to them to function in extreme weather conditions. “Batteries, oils and lubricants and so on need to be protected from the temperature. There are nine items, which don’t freeze at -20 degrees,” the source said on the winterisation kits. Modifications were also carried out to the fire control system as different systems behave differently under different conditions. These kits are being procured for other K9 guns as well, officials said
The Indian Army plans to convert all its artillery regiments to medium range by converting all units to 155 mm standard, Dinakar Peri reports. While the process is underway, the process of completing the 'mediumisation' process is likely to be achieved sometime around 2040.
Guided Extended Range rockets with a range of 75 km have also been developed and validated for the Pinaka and the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has also approved their procurement. Currently, the Army has 5 Grad rocket regiments, 3 Smerch regiments and 4 Pinaka regiments. Another 6 Pinaka regiments are on order. Eventually, the indigenous Pinaka will become the mainstay of the long-range rocket artillery, Dinakar Peri concludes.
The K9 Vajra self-propelled howitzer was unveiled at DefExpo India 2018 (Picture source: Army Recognition)