Defence officials on Friday said the formal induction ceremony for the first five of the 155mm/45-calibre Dhanush howitzers, after initial barrel bursts and protracted trials spread over six years, will finally take place at the Gun Carriage Factory in Jabalpur on March 26.
“The Dhanush guns would be inducted into the Army at a ceremony to be held in Ordnance Factory Jabalpur on March 26 where senior functionaries of the Army would be present,” Army officials said.
The Dhanush gun system is based on the designs of the Bofors howitzer which was inducted in the Army in 1980s and would be the third type of artillery gun to be inducted into the force after the K-9 Vajra and the M-777 ultra-light howitzers.
“There were several problems with the Dhanush guns during the trials…but most have been resolved now. The Army had earlier placed an order for 114 of these guns for Rs 1,260 crore. The first 18 guns will be delivered by March 2020. The OFB will gradually step up its production rate. Overall, the Army requires 414 such guns,” said an officer.
Although the bulk of the 145 M777 howitzers for Rs 5,000 crore and the 100 K-9 guns for Rs 4,366 crore will “largely be assembled” in India after initial direct deliveries from the foreign manufacturers, the Dhanush is the first-ever 155mm artillery gun to be developed and produced in India.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force will induct the first four of its 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers on Monday in Chandigarh where these helicopters have been deployed. AF Chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa would be inducting the planes into the force. India has paid near about USD 1.5 billion for 15 of these helicopters.