Dhanush, a derivative of the Bofors gun, has cleared the winter trials in Sikkim and is headed for a final round of tests in the Rajasthan deserts this summer.
If it clears the last round of trials on accuracy, range and rate of fire, it could find its way into the Indian army by year-end.
Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) officials said a move was under way to transport the Dhanush to Rajasthan from Sikkim, where the winter trials ended yesterday.
“We have put together a special project team to look into different aspects of the product, including the cradle, barrel and the hydraulic and electrical systems. Once the last round of trials is complete, we will supply the guns to the forces by this year-end,” said M.C. Bansal, the chairperson of the Calcutta-headquartered OFB.
“We have an order to supply 114 such guns to the army.”
For nearly three decades, the army has not added a big gun to its armoury. The Bofors guns, bought in 1987, have kept the artillery going.
The Dhanush is being developed at the Gun Carriage Factory in Jabalpur. It has a 155mm barrel that is 6.975 metres long. The longer barrel ensures a longer range, an OFB official said.
Work on version 2 of the Dhanush was also under way, officials said. “The sub-systems for this product are being developed and once this gun fires successfully, work on the next-generation Dhanush would gather momentum.”
Other officials said work to develop better mine-protected vehicles was going on at the OFB’s research facility in Medak in Andhra Pradesh.
Sources said the new MPVs would be able to withstand stronger mine blasts and provide “an improvised seating system to take in greater shock and give better options for firing back at the enemy”.