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Artillery Discussion Thread

The Military Issues & History Forum is a venue to discuss issues relating to the military aspects of the Indian Armed Forces, whether the past, present or future. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Bharat-Rakshak.com Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby JayS » 06 Oct 2017 11:41

Indranil wrote:It is the 105 light gun. I think they call it Garuda 105.


I am wondering about "Bharat-45" that's seen in 5th picture. If Bharat-52 is 155mm 52 cal, its possible that Bharat-45 is also 155mm. But then is it the ULH version or regular version..? They are working on ULH which the one seen in 4th pic. I can read 155/39 on the machine, unless my eyes are cheated by some spell. The pic when Maj Gen is seating on wheel, is the ATAGS it seems, 155/52 cal, but the picture is blurry to be sure.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Indranil » 06 Oct 2017 23:38

Image
Bharat-52. I don't see a future for this given ATAGS.

Image
Bharat-45. It is 155/45. However, I don't know the future of the 39 and 45 caliber guns, including that of Dhanush series. ATAGS is a generation or two ahead of these guns. For example, Bharat-45 weighs 1 Ton more than the ATAGS.

Now, this is the interesting part.
Image

Image
I thought that this is the same as the Ultra Light Field Gun (Garuda,105 mm) displayed at DefExpo'16 (pics below). But the writing on the side does say 155/39. So, I am happily confused.

Image
Image
Image

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby vasu raya » 06 Oct 2017 23:52

They have a 155mm ultra light now with soft recoil? and all these passed testing

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ramana » 07 Oct 2017 00:59

indranil, looks like wheeled gun unlike ATAGS.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Indranil » 07 Oct 2017 01:01

You mean the ULH? It has to be, right?

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Rakesh » 07 Oct 2017 08:48

Wow, I am sure BRF oldies remember how many artillery competitions were held in the past 20 years of BR's existence. And now to see this. A truly amazing day for India. A pretty interesting facebook excerpt on the use of artillery during the Kargil War...for some weird reason I am not able to copy the text from the link below. Sorry!

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_ ... 4991274372

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Manish_P » 07 Oct 2017 13:04

Rakesh sir, here you go

#Know_your_hero

28 September, Artillery day, we are honored to make a post about one of the finest artillery officer of our time and a war hero of Kargil war - Maj Gen (R) Lakhwinder Singh (USM), Yuddha Sewa Medal

=================

The role of artillery in the battlefield during the Kargil war cannot be forgotten and will forever be etched in golden letters.

India’s victory in Operation Vijay was not achieved without major sacrifices. Three valiant officers and 32 brave soldiers of the Regiment of Artillery laid down their lives in the true spirit of Izzat-O-Iqbal. The problem faced by the Gunners was the rarefied air and strong wind currents in the upper atmosphere, the accuracy of the Bofors gun, especially over longer distances of 20 km or more, caused problems.

For this exceptional and exemplary valour and grit in heroic battles in Kargil, the chief of the army staff honoured 11 Infantry battalions, three units of Regiment of Artillery namely 141 Field Regiment, 197 Field Regiment and 108 Medium Regiment and two Reconnaissance and Observation Squadrons of the Army Aviation with special award of Unit Citations.

=========================

Maj Gen (R) Lakhwinder Singh was the commander of Artillery Brigade of India's 8 mountain division and known for few innovative tactics and pioneering 100 guns concept

================================

What he did was akin to using a sledgehammer to shell a peanut. After all when he has a powerful gun like Bofors, capable of hurling over 40 kg of deadly explosive to a distance of over 30 km, ever been used like a sharpshooter to knock down well-entrenched enemy soldiers sitting on top of peaks? Or which recent battle has seen over 100 artillery guns both big and small lined up and fired simultaneously to pulverise the enemy in a small target area into submission?

In a war the ends usually justify the means. Singh unabashedly admits that he took a page out of history to use what even his Corp Commander Krishan Pal describes as one of the most innovative artillery tactics to win a war;.

He remembers reading how famous warriors like Babar and Ranjit Singh employed rows of master gunners to fire cannonballs directly at the enemy. His logic: if such simple tubes could be utilised in controlled direct firing then why not sophisticated gun systems?

So he first tried out the technique during the battle for Tololing. A battery of six guns were lined up and told to make direct hits at targets on top of the peak where Pakistani intruders were holed up. It made the final assault by the infantry much easier - casualties were lower too - to give India its first major victory in the Kargil war.

Yet it was on a neighbouring peak called Point 5140 where Singh's brigade demonstrated how an ancient war tactic still held good. Singh ordered all available guns, including Bofors, 105 mm field guns and 120 mm mortars, to line up.

In all they numbered over 100. He then told his gunners to fire them continuously at the positions held by Pakistanis on the heights. Singh even had rockets launched against them. So effective was the firepower that the infantry was able to regain the positions without a single casualty.

With the infantry getting more confident of the artillery's prowess it was even willing to cut down the safety margins and take some daring risks. Normally the soldiers stay at least 350 m away from a spot towards which the shells are directed. But with the guns proving so accurate they would call for shelling even when they ventured to within 50 m of the targeted enemy positions.

It was night when the brigade targeted Tiger Hill and the entire sky lit up like Diwali as they resorted to nonstop firing for several hours. The pounding saw the Pakistani soldiers running for cover though many of them were killed by the deadly fusillade. Intercepts of conversations had one of them saying: Hell has fallen on us.

The continuous firing made the infantry's task of capturing the hill much easier. Major-General Mohinder Puri, general officer commanding of the 8 Division, acknowledges that it was the preponderance of the artillery fire that helped us score many victories.

Credit - India today and Rediff

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ramana » 08 Oct 2017 04:08

So OFB makes
155mm M 107 shells in OF Kanpur.
and
155mm ERFB BB and BT at OF Chanda

We know that a 155mm ERFB broke into pieces during the M 777 gun trials.

The 155 mm ERFB shells are made from high fragmentation steel per the OFB website.

http://ofbindia.gov.in/products/data/am ... /lc/40.htm

Note its 12 kg explosive which is 50% more explosive than the regular M 107 shells. Not to mention the wall is thinner.

The 155-mm HE-ER (High-Explosive Extended-Range) base-bleed projectile is operated primarily for blast and fragmentation against infantry troops and soft materiel targets.

This projectile can be fired from 39, 45, 52 -calibre 155-mm artillery guns using all types of propelling charges. The increased range is achieved by using a low-drag aerodynamic shape coupled with base bleed technology.
The projectile contains 12 kilograms of TNT in a thin-walled, high-strength, high-fragmentation steel- alloy body.

It has a deep-cavity fuze design that accepts Point-Detonating (PD) or proximity (VT) fuzes.

FUNCTIONING
An aluminium liner in the deep fuze cavity contains a supplementary TNT charge. When proximity fuze is fitted, the supplementary charge is removed.

When a PD fuze is used, it detonates the supplementary charge upon impact, which in turn detonates the projectile filler. When a proximity fuze is used, detonation occurs when the projectile approaches the target (proximity action). The proximity fuze contains its own booster element to detonate the projectile filler.


We still don't know about the previous shell burst incident as to what shell, fuze and charge were used.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ramana » 12 Oct 2017 03:47

Continuing the shell story:
There are two main types of 155mm shells : M107 and the ERFB BB (Base bleed) and BT (Boat Tail).

Lets look at the materials used for these type of shells. Ref: M -756 Ammo hand book.


M 107 is the plain vanilla shells developed for the 155mm gun.
The shell is usually made from low carbon steel. Typical alloy is AISI/SAE 1050 or equivalent. This steel has yield strength of 60 - 100 ksi and has excellent elongation of ~15%. That means this one stretches like taffy before it breaks. Very good for deep drawing and forging.

The ERFB high fragmentation shell are made from manganese steels which have high yield of 140 ksi. Great but has low elongation of 5%! i.e means this is 3 times less ductile than the M 107 shell steel.
This allows it to break into finer fragments. To put this in laymen's terms this is like your cast iron shrapnel shell updated to modern technology. Its low ductility just like cast iron allows break up into fragments but high enough for hot forging into the shell shape.

Now lets look at wall thickness. The ERFB has thin wall thickness compared to M 107 shell.

Lets look at explosive filling. The ERFB has 12 kg of explosive. The M 107 has about 8 kg of explosive. IOW ERFB has 50% more explosive than the M 107.

To re-iterate, ERFB has less ductile, thinner walls, and more explosive than the M 107 which makes it more likely to break up if side slap or balloting happens. So all this tell us that an ERFB has more propensity to break up in the barrel than a M107 if side slap happens.

On side slap:

To get more clarity the COI should tabulate all the past incidents of 155m shell break up by three things: type of shell - M 107 or ERFB, type of charge - low, medium or high, type of fuze. Comments can be was fuze recovered and did it function? If ambient temperature is known its a bonus along with the order of the malfunctioning shell- was it part of a salvo or just one in the cold morning? Shouldn't be too difficult as CAG has looked at the past COIs and did their review.

One inspection that can be done is to take 10 shells for each lot of the shells that burst and measure the bourrelet area diameter to 3 decimal places. How far are they from the 155mm barrel bore tolerances? This sill settle the issue of how much gap is there in the gun bore. What's the range?

This gap at high charges causes side slap due to in-bore yaw angle.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Philip » 12 Oct 2017 21:48

A Q.Tank gun barrels rifled and smoothbore.Is there a similar or greater situ for failure for either?

Some notes on the air defence issue.

Beyond the Rhetoric - The Bottom line Challenges for Ground Based Air Defence
http://www.vifindia.org/article/2017/au ... ir-defence
30 Aug, 2017 Lt Gen (Dr) V K Saxena (Retd), PVSM,AVSM,VSM, Visiting Fellow, VIF View1060 Comments 0

Gun Systems

No country the word over ever throws away its old calibres (implying gun systems). Russia is still going strong with its 57 mm, 85 mm air defence guns (besides the newer vintage of 23 mm and 30 mm). Sweden, Italy, and Singapore with their 40mm, Germany, Greece, US and French with their 20 mm, 30 mm and 35 mm. The name of the game is keeping the guns alive through ‘continuous qualitative up-grade’. And why this happens is because ‘this is the only way out’ as throwing away of calibres is simply not possible.

Qualitative up-grade of guns manifests in multiple domains - ordnance, superstructure, laying and target tracking systems, enhancement in range and reach parameters, hours of operability and so on. In effect, if qualitative up-grade keeps taking place in pace with the growth of technology, the mainframe weapon system is nearly ageless, unless a quantum jump produces a 'new chapter technology', something of a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) kind.

In the above context, the up-grade of the mainstay air defence gun systems, namely the L-70 and ZU23 guns and the Schilka Weapon System is suitable for tangible quality enhancement by the addition of Electro-Optical Fire Control System (EOFCS, complete with its day camera, night camera, laser range finder and fire control computer), besides enhancement in drives and power banks.

There are multiple challenges in the said upgrade:-

Firstly, the Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), the up-grading agency (that is, the Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM) has to ensure that the initial delays that took place in attending to the teething trouble period are made up by enhanced throughput, as getting upgraded numbers in time-critical sequence is to be planned carefully to avoid impact on net operational effectiveness. The OEM must also remember that the proof of upgrade will be in live firing and nothing short of that.

In case of Schilka upgrade, there must not be any perpetual dependency on the foreign OEM with whom the BEL had joint ventured for software and technology support. This can only happen if the continuous system support is taken over by BEL engineers by coming out of their comfort zone of dependence on Foreign OEM. Experience has it that it is possible now, and it is happening. Just the momentum is needed to keep up. The challenge for the maintaining agency is to make sure that all the past and ongoing issues in overhaul of the un-upgraded guns is speeded up with adequate spare support from BEL before each gun is sent for upgrade. Irrespective of any amount of delays and hurdles, the pending upgrade of ZU 23 guns is inescapable if we want to avoid a situation when the guns go ineffective before the successor gun arrives. This upgrade must start post haste.

But any amount of upgrade of the existing guns cannot wipe away the crying need for successors guns, the induction of which is over-delayed. The current instance, riding on the vehicle of 'Buy and Make Indian' is a litmus test that will give a great boost to our private defence industry. Meanwhile, case for inducting successor systems has to be pushed forward as a matter of operational expediency.

Missile Systems

Multiple challenges exist in the field of Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs). To begin with, the man portable shoulder/pedestal fired missiles grouped under the generic category of Very Short Range Air Defence Systems or VSHORADS are an urgent need. These are not only required to provide the required gun-missile mix at the terminal end of the point defence deployments, something that is a must to counter the current and future air threat, but these are also required to provide the flexibility and enhancement in range and reach besides a degree of surprise and innovation in the otherwise predictable patterns of deployment. Such weapons are also a must for opportunity targets like the unmanned aerial systems or UAS. The challenge for the users and the decision makers is to take the ongoing case forward which has already taken several years to mature to this level. Closure of the current case and restart will be prohibitive in time and cost terms.

In the field of Short Range SAMs (SRSAM), while the Akash is a success story. The challenge for the OEMs is to ensure the realisation of weapon system as full-fledged regiments gets on the top gear by cutting out delays in delivery schedules and spare support. It has to be understood that the requirement of SRSAM is critical to provide Short Range Missile cover to strategic vulnerabilities.

Apart from the SRSAMs, there is another challenge of providing mobile missile cover to mechanised formations through Quick Reaction SAMs (QRSAMs). Such weapons are distinct in their own right. They can keep up with mechanised assets and have the unique capability of surveillance and tracking during move and firing immediately on halt. It is heartening to note from the open source the progress of indigenous QRSAM by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and BEL. The challenge is to take this progress to its fruitful realisation with full involvement and participation of the user and fill the existing void in the QRSAM category for the field force.

In the case of Medium Range SAMs (MRSAMs) while the open source informs us about the contract for the first Regiment having been signed with the DRDO (in Joint venture with Israeli Armament Industry or IAI), the challenge for all stake holders is to move forward towards realisation of the system and its early operationalisation. Learning from Akash, the users and OEM must not only to look at the weapon vertical alone, but also the associated structures of missile sheds for holding , preparation and testing. The latter must come up alongside lest it holds up induction of the main weapon at a later date.

Surveillance and Battle Management Systems

As regards a whole hierarchy of surveillance and fire control (FC) systems, it is reassuring to see that the indigenous capability of DRDO as represented through Electronic and Radar Development Organisation (LRDE) along with BEL as the Production Agency (PA) coming up reasonably well. The recent inductions of 3-Dimensional Tactical Control Radar (3-DTCR) and Low Level Light Weight Radar (LLLR), and the ongoing development of the state-of-the-art radars (FC Radar, ADFCR and Tactical Control Radar, ADTCR) point to this deduction. The challenge for these organisations is to ensure that, one, there is total synergy between them, and two, the user is kept on board all the way. Besides this, the challenge for the developers is to put all out efforts to ensure that the mutually agreed completion dates (PDCs) for under development multiple type of radars are not allowed to slip away . In fact the ultimate aim should be to get rid of foreign dependence in this field. While that should be the ultimate goal, the challenge to maintain the current inventory of FC and TC radars must not be lost sight of either by BEL or LRDE. This will demand continuous hand-holding and spare support to the user.

As regards the Battle Management Systems, the challenges are the gravest of all. Most of these lie in the domain of the indigenous developer of the system, i,e BEL as well as the user. The user must ensure that the semi-automated Battle Management Command and Control (BMC2) System (also referred to as Air Defence Control and Reporting System or ADCRS) moves beyond its test bed stage by getting its technical and obsolescence issues addressed. In this we need to go beyond the narrow confines of the inter-Service turfs and try to seamlessly integrate the ADCRS across the Service domains. In specific terms, a seamless handshake of systems is a must between the Army, Navy and Airforce.

To achieve the above, HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) needs to intervene and lay down time bound deadlines while the OEM, along with the three Services stake holders, have to ensure that the technological and software support required for achieving the above handshake is put into place, sooner than later.

Addressing UAS Threat

Proliferation of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) as attack vehicles into our scenario had happened at an exponential pace. While the UAS are an ‘attacker’s delight’ they are a defender’s nightmare. This is so because not only detecting these vehicles is an uphill task due to their minimalistic Radar Cross-section Signatures (RCS), but also the challenge is to develop low cost weapons to kill them which would balance out the ‘cost of kill’ with the ‘cost of target’. Launching million of dollars worth of missiles to bring down low cost UAS does not make sense.

In this context, the challenge for DRD, duly supported by the public and private industry, is to come forward and develop low cost anti-UAS systems both in the hit-to-kill domain, as well as in the soft-kill domain. The ongoing work in this field needs to be expedited and taken to its fruitful conclusion.

Thus goes the challenge count for Army Air Defence. It is hoped that these challenges will continue to be addressed with full vigour in times to come.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Rakesh » 16 Oct 2017 00:26

The Dhanush (Indian Bofors FH77) gun gets scoped out today in Jabalpur by Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State for Defence
https://twitter.com/livefist/status/919151584285564928

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ramana » 16 Oct 2017 00:42

Philip, Yes it can happen in the tank gun barrels too as the length is conducive to ballotting.
In case of the explosive round, it can blow-up in the barrel or in case of sabot round it can cause inaccuracy.

The US did a study of 120mm barrels after some issues in the mid-70s.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Thakur_B » 22 Oct 2017 10:56

Image

Image

Guided Pinaka Rocket costs ~ ₹70 Lacs, unguided ₹23 Lacs.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby srai » 22 Oct 2017 11:28

^^^
How effective is the 100kg warhead at 60-80m distance?

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby shiv » 22 Oct 2017 12:49

srai wrote:^^^
How effective is the 100kg warhead at 60-80m distance?

A fragmentation warhead would be very dangerous to personnel - but in any case this is an area weapon which randomly deposits 100 kg bombs on an area pretty much cratering and peppering it.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ashthor » 22 Oct 2017 15:10

The second image says 6450 rockets delivered. There was a discussion many pages back where it was said the
production is too slow?

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Philip » 23 Oct 2017 01:30

Sources say that there are umpteen acquisitions pending in the MOD including many desi ones like extra Pinakas,etc.NS has her job cut out.

In one report the OFB and IA are at loggerheads over the defective ammo issue leading to the barrel burst.OFB:
"complex phenomena pertaining to internal ballistics since the shell moves at v.high speed inside the barrel..failure can have multiple causes.."! :rotfl: The OFB honcho who said this needs to be loaded into an ATAGS barrel with one of his shells up his nether end and fired to experience the "complex phenomena" in his "internal ballistics"!

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Rishi_Tri » 23 Oct 2017 14:01

Philip wrote:Sources say that there are umpteen acquisitions pending in the MOD including many desi ones like extra Pinakas,etc.NS has her job cut out.

In one report the OFB and IA are at loggerheads over the defective ammo issue leading to the barrel burst.OFB:
"complex phenomena pertaining to internal ballistics since the shell moves at v.high speed inside the barrel..failure can have multiple causes.."! :rotfl: The OFB honcho who said this needs to be loaded into an ATAGS barrel with one of his shells up his nether end and fired to experience the "complex phenomena" in his "internal ballistics"!


:rotfl:

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Rishi_Tri » 23 Oct 2017 14:08

Posting links to article on Kalyani group / interview with Baba Kalyani.

http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2017/10/i ... rgest.html

http://ajaishukla.blogspot.in/2017/10/m ... roups.html

Details that I found interesting - Kalyani gun beating Tata gun, ATAGS being the first greenfield gun development in last thirty years, Kalyani supplying barrels for TATA gun.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ramana » 23 Oct 2017 22:13

Poor OFB does doesn't get similar PR.
Last edited by ramana on 26 Oct 2017 02:18, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed it. ramana

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Khalsa » 26 Oct 2017 01:00

^^^^
does or doesn't ?

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Aditya_V » 26 Oct 2017 18:19

Regarding Pinaka 6450nos, that board seems to be quoting 2008 nos it is possible 2008 data, see in the first image different where 2013 US ordinance comparative cost is given, the accuracy of Pinaka II changes, so this board was probably prepared in 2013 and 2nd image information was prepared in 2008.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Singha » 27 Oct 2017 09:09

srai wrote:^^^
How effective is the 100kg warhead at 60-80m distance?


the lethal radius of a 155mm 45kg HE shell is claimed as 100m of open area. hence the need for deep foxholes and trenches.

the pakis have a limited number of old 207mm american howitzers. range is poor at 20km but it fires a huge 90kg shell which is much feared by anyone its fired on.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Kakkaji » 30 Oct 2017 05:51

This might interest ramanaji:

Pune: Electronic artillery fuse manufacturing facility launched at BEL

A STATE-OF-THE-ART electronic artillery fuse manufacturing facility was launched at the Pune unit of Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) on October 27.

The development comes after a ‘compliance report’ from the Comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of India, which was tabled before the Parliament in July this year, revealed 83 per cent shortage of artillery fuses with the Army.

Artillery fuses, known as the brain of the munition, are the devices that initiate explosion. They also determine how the explosion would be initiated — on contact with the target or some time after the launch.

Meanwhile, officials from the BEL said the newly-inaugurated facility can produce at least 50,000 fuses per month and the capacity can be increased as per requirement.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ramana » 30 Oct 2017 06:24

Thanks, Kakkaji.

IA wants to go electronic fuzes for some time. Its possible the mevanical fuze M572 production by OFB was curtailed in anticipation of this new facility.

Mech fuzes are notorious for timing unreliability.

Maybe these are for all type of shells.

Finally a new turn.

-----------------

Hitherto fore, ECIL was making the electronic proximity fuzes for the 155 mm shells.
Its interesting that BEL has setup this new factory for electronic fuzes. The BEL website has no info on this new product at all.
Watch this space. It will improve the effectiveness of IA artillery by many fold times as mechanical fuzes are unreliable due to the watch/timer mechanism.
I hope the new PGK type fuze when development is completed will be taken up by this unit.

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby shiv » 30 Oct 2017 07:24

Singha wrote:
srai wrote:^^^
How effective is the 100kg warhead at 60-80m distance?


the lethal radius of a 155mm 45kg HE shell is claimed as 100m of open area. hence the need for deep foxholes and trenches.

the pakis have a limited number of old 207mm american howitzers. range is poor at 20km but it fires a huge 90kg shell which is much feared by anyone its fired on.

Kookal has no mention of 207, but 203 mm with 90 kg shell with slow rate of fire and physically demanding/unreliable loading mechanism

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby sum » 30 Oct 2017 07:54

Was this posted? Loads of details in it:
Gunning for Dhanush

Dhanush, which is the flagship indigenous artillery gun, appears to be doomed even before its induction and deployment in the artillery. There have been reports of “cheap” and “fake” Chinese parts (bearings) being used in Dhanush, which the Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into.

There appears to be a move to sabotage the development of Dhanush as arms lobbies are nudging the Army to opt for an East European or Israeli gun. There are serious issues over the quality of the manufacture of the weapons system. The Army has been insisting on a six-gun battery user exploitation trial. There are design deficiencies in the gun, including a faulty loading system. There have been repeated failures: three of the eight guns undergoing user trials have suffered mishaps, including muzzle brake damage.


Defence experts say Dhanush is a wonderful platform. A former Director General of the Artillery Regiment said it had “the range, accuracy, consistency and firepower”, but serious issues concerning the quality of the manufacturing process needed to be addressed. Alok Prasad, Deputy Director General (Weapons), OFB, said: “Issues of quality have occurred mainly because of three categories of items: fasteners, rubber springs and seals. It is difficult to find a source in India that can match the quality levels that we are looking for in these items. It is a problem that exists in Indian industry. If we want the kind of quality we need, we have to look overseas. But our procurement process [with contracts necessarily going to the lowest bidder] currently does not allow that. In order to address this lacuna, the OFB is in the process of tweaking the procurement process.”



But should the quality of category C items hold up the manufacture of Dhanush? Lamented another senior official from the OFB: “The Army has been changing the goal posts. The methodology of trials have been changed. We conceived Dhanush as accepted by the Army, but as in the case of the Arjun tank, since there were no written-down qualitative requirements, the Army kept changing them. In Dhanush, there is a GSQR [General Staff Qualitative Requirements], but it is hardly a few pages and there is plenty of room to read between the lines. Not only do we have to incorporate what senior planners at the Army headquarters perceive the gun should have, but we also have to cater to the preferences of officers in the trial teams. The Army had two trial teams and each of them had different requirements. One wanted the seat of the gun to be high, the other wanted it low. And officers either get posted out or retire, so there is no continuity in thought. Foreign vendors never go beyond the GSQR. They will not follow any changes, and they take you to court.”



Lt Gen. P.R. Shankar, who retired in October 2016 as the Director General of Artillery and has been closely associated with the Dhanush programme, explained: “There were a number of shortcomings caused primarily by shoddy manufacturing processes such as misalignments, poor finishing and even the poor quality of simple nuts. Importantly, the ammunition was not loading as required, the firing rate was slow due to too many stoppages, and so on. The Army realised that it would be impossible for the OFB to clear user trials in time with the defects involved. The programme would have been stuck in a loop. That is why the Army approached the then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, and requested that the OFB produce six guns, which would be sent to artillery units for user exploitation. This way, issues which come up could be resolved and the production process could commence simultaneously. User exploitation was specially facilitated to help the OFB. This is the only way they could have been given an order.”

Read it all

atma
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby atma » 30 Oct 2017 08:15

shiv wrote:
Singha wrote:
the lethal radius of a 155mm 45kg HE shell is claimed as 100m of open area. hence the need for deep foxholes and trenches.

the pakis have a limited number of old 207mm american howitzers. range is poor at 20km but it fires a huge 90kg shell which is much feared by anyone its fired on.

Kookal has no mention of 207, but 203 mm with 90 kg shell with slow rate of fire and physically demanding/unreliable loading mechanism


Hakimji is right. Terroristan has US supplied, Korean and Vietnam era M115 howitzer(203mm) About 28 in service, and 8 inch (203 mm) M110 self-propelled howitzers, about 60 in service. reportedly their ordnance factories make shells for the same. Looks great on paper, but being phased out by most modern armies, including the US, in favor of 155 mm artillery ( since they afford no advantage in range or firepower). However, given that we have almost no serviceable self propelled artillery in our inventory, it potentially does give them an edge, until we start inducting newer pieces.
I am just getting weary of seeing all this capability that exists within the Indian MIC, yet the reluctance/tardiness in induction. Perhaps the ghost of the Bofors scandal will continue to haunt us! A case of reverse Bofors? Now we will not order or induct because no one in MoD, Army etc will be able to pad their overseas accounts or send children overseas, by ordering indigenous artillery in numbers? :eek: :oops:

shiv
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby shiv » 30 Oct 2017 08:30

atma wrote: we will not order or induct because no one in MoD, Army etc will be able to pad their overseas accounts or send children overseas, by ordering indigenous artillery in numbers?[/b] :eek: :oops:

To be fair even PSU bigwigs can get great phoren trips for "collaborasun" so long as indigenous efforts are stymied - so why leave them out?

PSU man gets to go to Germany, Sweden etc and strike a "good deal". Those nations will strike an even better deal with China workshops to supply bearings and finished components. "Oh you know, it's an era of globalization and we are world citizens"

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby sanjayc » 30 Oct 2017 16:21

Gunning for Dhanush

Dhanush, the flagship indigenous artillery gun, is mired in controversy with the Ordnance Factories Board, its maker, and the Army exchanging accusations over its quality.

By RAVI SHARMA in Bengaluru

INDIA’S most controversial defence deal has also been one of its most successful ones. The 155 mm .39 calibre Haubits Falthaubits 77B (Swedish for Field Howitzer 77B), or simply the Bofors artillery gun, has proved to be a versatile and potent weapons system since its induction into the Indian Artillery Regiment in 1986-87.

With its high rate of fire and accuracy, it became the toast of the Army and the nation during the Kargil conflict with Pakistan (1999) when it had extraordinary success at high altitude. But the acquisition of 410 artillery guns worth $1.4 billion from AB Bofors has been mired in controversy chiefly because of the kickbacks amounting to Rs.64 crore allegedly paid to conclude the deal. An upgrade to Bofors, the 155 mm .45 calibre Dhanush (meaning bow), designed and developed by the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), threatens to be just as controversial.

Dhanush, which is the flagship indigenous artillery gun, appears to be doomed even before its induction and deployment in the artillery. There have been reports of “cheap” and “fake” Chinese parts (bearings) being used in Dhanush, which the Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into.

There appears to be a move to sabotage the development of Dhanush as arms lobbies are nudging the Army to opt for an East European or Israeli gun. There are serious issues over the quality of the manufacture of the weapons system. The Army has been insisting on a six-gun battery user exploitation trial. There are design deficiencies in the gun, including a faulty loading system. There have been repeated failures: three of the eight guns undergoing user trials have suffered mishaps, including muzzle brake damage.

Defence experts say Dhanush is a wonderful platform. A former Director General of the Artillery Regiment said it had “the range, accuracy, consistency and firepower”, but serious issues concerning the quality of the manufacturing process needed to be addressed. Alok Prasad, Deputy Director General (Weapons), OFB, said: “Issues of quality have occurred mainly because of three categories of items: fasteners, rubber springs and seals. It is difficult to find a source in India that can match the quality levels that we are looking for in these items. It is a problem that exists in Indian industry. If we want the kind of quality we need, we have to look overseas. But our procurement process [with contracts necessarily going to the lowest bidder] currently does not allow that. In order to address this lacuna, the OFB is in the process of tweaking the procurement process.”


But should the quality of category C items hold up the manufacture of Dhanush? Lamented another senior official from the OFB: “The Army has been changing the goal posts. The methodology of trials have been changed. We conceived Dhanush as accepted by the Army, but as in the case of the Arjun tank, since there were no written-down qualitative requirements, the Army kept changing them. In Dhanush, there is a GSQR [General Staff Qualitative Requirements], but it is hardly a few pages and there is plenty of room to read between the lines. Not only do we have to incorporate what senior planners at the Army headquarters perceive the gun should have, but we also have to cater to the preferences of officers in the trial teams. The Army had two trial teams and each of them had different requirements. One wanted the seat of the gun to be high, the other wanted it low. And officers either get posted out or retire, so there is no continuity in thought. Foreign vendors never go beyond the GSQR. They will not follow any changes, and they take you to court.”

The OFB is piqued over the Army’s decision to use a different process of qualification, vis-a-vis foreign manufactured artillery guns, with additional trials (termed as user exploitation) being introduced for the first time in the case of Dhanush. They draw a comparison with the 155 mm .52 calibre tracked self-propelled K-9 Vajra (Thunder) gun system from Korea that was accepted by the Army after just 200 to 250 rounds, a number which, according to OFB officials, is “too low to evaluate a gun system”. Under extensive three-phase user exploitation trials, three Dhanush guns were fired under desert conditions (around 450 rounds at Pokhran, Rajasthan, and Babina in Uttar Pradesh), three guns were fired at high altitude (around 400 rounds in Siachen) and finally they were fired as a battery of six guns. According to officials from the OFB, “over 1,200 rounds have been fired as part of the user exploitation trials”. And over 3,700 rounds have been fired so far in the present campaign to have the gun cleared. But, according to Army sources, the gun is still some way from acceptance and “has not met all the parameters to enable it [OFB] to go ahead with the order for 12 guns [besides the six that are in the user exploitation trials]”.

Said a senior official from the OFB: “The Army’s philosophy is simple: the OFB is to identify all the problems and address them so that there are no issues post induction. The Army is asking for a perfect gun. But, this is unduly prolonging the trial process. Since we are not producing the gun, our [OFB] facilities are lying idle and our suppliers are frustrated with no orders. It would be better if the Army ordered a few guns on the basis of the trials, exploited and evaluated them, devised a maintenance philosophy by using them, and allowed the product to mature. Perfection in stages. Have an Mk1, then an Mk2, Mk3, and so on. Dhanush is a major system development, and we at the OFB are learning a whole new philosophy in artillery gun development. Under user exploitation, you have to maintain and put more guns on a trial, thereby exponentially multiplying the chances of something going wrong. When foreign guns are not put through this, why should Dhanush be?”


The genesis of Dhanush, called the “desi” Bofors, dates back to 2005-06 when the OFB, with help from agencies such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which readied the firing range tables, first developed the gun and fired over 800 rounds in a bid to qualify it. But the Army evinced no interest. The up-gunning of Bofors was revived in 2010 when the OFB once again approached the Army and chiefly suggested a .45 mm (up from .39 mm) calibre barrel, a change in the electronics component of the gun and an increased range. After initial apprehensions, the Army, in 2011, provided the OFB with two Bofors guns from its war reserves, and a detachment of officers and men was placed at the OFB’s disposal at its Jabalpur unit. Aided by technical documents that had been procured from AB Bofors, the OFB stripped the gun, studied it and started manufacturing, one part at a time. It mechanically up-gunned the barrel to .45mm calibre, roped in the Israeli firm Elbit for the electronics suite and included the inertial navigation systems from France’s Sagem.

The Defence Acquisition Council even envisaged a production order of 114 guns. By 2012, the upgraded guns were ready for trials by the Army. But a barrel burst (caused mostly by faulty ammunition) on the very first day of trials soured the programme. Said an Army officer who was at the initial trials: “Among the many shortcomings, the loading system was faulty, and the OFB was not able to give us a gun with fault-free firing. And despite trial officers helping the OFB by even cooking up test figures, it was a lost cause.”

Lt Gen. P.R. Shankar, who retired in October 2016 as the Director General of Artillery and has been closely associated with the Dhanush programme, explained: “There were a number of shortcomings caused primarily by shoddy manufacturing processes such as misalignments, poor finishing and even the poor quality of simple nuts. Importantly, the ammunition was not loading as required, the firing rate was slow due to too many stoppages, and so on. The Army realised that it would be impossible for the OFB to clear user trials in time with the defects involved. The programme would have been stuck in a loop. That is why the Army approached the then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, and requested that the OFB produce six guns, which would be sent to artillery units for user exploitation. This way, issues which come up could be resolved and the production process could commence simultaneously. User exploitation was specially facilitated to help the OFB. This is the only way they could have been given an order.”

Lt Gen. Shankar added: “The Army is more than willing to accept the gun but not a substandard gun. It is an upgrade of the time-tested Bofors, the range is better, performance is largely satisfactory, the indigenous content is around 80 per cent. Most importantly, for the first time in our history, we have a modern gun which is Indian. It is a matter of pride to have an indigenous system as your main artillery gun rather than relying on imported systems. But there can be no bulk order or clearance until the gun performs well. In war you need a gun that can fire three rounds in 15 seconds, 50 rounds in an hour. Presently, that is not possible.”


Many in the Army question the OFB’s qualifications to undertake artillery gun design and development (since it is primarily a manufacturing entity) . The OFB maintained that it had 110 highly qualified personnel in gun design, ammunition and military technologies. Recently, it won the deal to upgrade the Army’s 130 mm M-46 gun. The existing 130 mm barrel, muzzle brake and breech block would be replaced/modified to make a 155 mm .45 calibre gun capable of firing the entire family of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] ammunition. Said an official: “We won the 300-gun contract against Bharat Forge which had partnered with Elbit and Punj Lloyd, which had a Yugoslav collaborator.”

Accidents during trials, said the OFB official, could happen to any gun. Why single out accidents in the Dhanush trial, he asked. OFB officials were quick to point out the incident in September when, during a routine field firing drill at the Pokhran range, the barrel of the American M777 lightweight howitzer was partly damaged, with the 155 mm artillery shell misfiring and exploding in it and the OFB-manufactured ammunition allegedly “exiting the barrel in multiple pieces”. Said an OFB official: “It was said that OFB-manufactured ammunition caused the problem. This is both unfair and premature.”

Although the investigating team consisting of personnel from the OFB; the Army, the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA); the United States government; BAE Systems, Sweden; and the United Kingdom is yet to come out conclusively with the reasons for the incident, informed sources told Frontline that there were no indications of any deficiencies in the ammunition. On the contrary, a member of the investigating team explained, the “reasons for the accident could range from deficiencies in the quality of the barrel or the armament, design deficiencies, compatibility between the gun and the ammunition, maintenance issues, firing/maintenance drills not being followed, pre-existing issues, or the barrel not being properly cleaned”. He said that “the most likely cause could be that the BAE Systems crew, who were firing the gun, faced an unfamiliar ammunition system and failed to tweak the gun/ammunition system to achieve compatibility”.

Another artillery gun India plans to induct into the Army is the Korean K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled howitzer, which is to be manufactured by Larsen & Toubro in collaboration with South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin. Two Korean soldiers were killed in an explosion during an artillery training session in Gangwon province in South Korea, raising doubts about the reliability of the gun.

Senior OFB officials are confident that Dhanush will clear user trials. They said many of the problems reported in the user exploitation phase would be surmounted by “a fine-tuning of the gun’s subsystems”. This, they hope, will be achieved during the next phase of the user exploitation trials scheduled for November. This will be followed by a final round of firing trials in 2018, by which time it is hoped Dhanush will meet the Army’s standards for an indigenous 155 mm artillery gun that can replace the Bofors gun. Military experts suggest that a Dhanush Integration Centre, staffed with personnel drawn from the OFB, the Army, the DGQA and the DRDO, could be set up with the best technical and manufacturing expertise. Expertise from BAE Systems, which is selling India the M777, could also be utilised.

Said Lt Gen. Shankar: “The idea is to come up with a centre of excellence of world standards. Also, the entire gun-manufacturing base in the country, including that available in the private sector, could be utilised to enhance capacities. The present capacity of the OFB cannot produce guns in the kind of numbers with the desired quality which the Army needs.”


http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/gunn ... epage=true

srai
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby srai » 30 Oct 2017 17:10

^^^

Good article. Gives viewpoints from both sides. Nothing new really. We have had lengthy discussions on BRF on the very same.

To sum it up, when it comes to indigenous weapon systems the IA keeps changing requirements (not a "builder army" best-practices), makes qualification much harder (endless cycle of "user" trials in all seasons and all locations), and orders nothing until "perfect" because primarily it doesn't trust the quality of products coming out of OFB (and the like). Historically, there have been serious production quality issues of OFB built products and they haven't been able to rectify it satisfactorily. Both sides have faults to address.

JayS
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby JayS » 30 Oct 2017 18:12

^^
^^ If the article is taken at face value, its very bad thing that IA doesn't have a proper process and elaborately written/frozen GSQRs. This is Program Management 101. This kind of lackadaisical approach leads to arbitrariness in decisions and bad program management. We see one sample in how there have been change requests based on personal preferences. This needs to change. Hope IA takes note. It would really bode well if IA installs its own engineering cadre specialized in procurement, preferably a mix of Army engineering cadre and laterally recruited engineers from RnD establishment and Private industry who hold requisite expertise.

OTOH, I am happy to see IA showing very mature approach towards making Dhanush work anyhow. Perhaps because they have been on forefront in driving this project.

On the issue with OFB's quality, I think GOI should give ultimatum to OFB and threaten to take the project from the OFB lock, stock and barrel if they do not resolve quality issues to IA's satisfaction in reasonably short time frame. This cannot take a decade. GOI can offer men, money and machine to anyone willing to make the project work and giving option to workers to either join the pvt company or to f*** off. May be making an example out of one project would make others fall in line. This will surely push the timelines of the project but it would be well worth it. We have ATAGS as back up. But perhaps the Modi government will not want to rock the boat until after 2019 elections, even if they want to. Perhaps time until then can be given to OFB making Dhanush to fall in line or get out of the way.

ramana
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ramana » 30 Oct 2017 21:31

I think OFB needs to be given latitude to procure sole source specialty Category C stores for development. Then these can be bid for quantity tenders.
The world is now awash with counterfeit parts from China. US also has this problem.

Demanding lowest bidder for initial development leads to these issues.

Also if that Army officer has evidence that the trials were cooked up he needs to provide evidence or keep quiet.
This is hidden mace hit at his own fellow officers.

Basically the article shows there are the following problems:

- Category C stores are shoddy. This is known problem world over. Deal with it. Increase lot inspection.
- Purchase using lowest bidder causes this shoddy components problem. Justify sole source for these and move on. Meanwhile develop local mfg capability.
- OFB manufacture and inspection process has gaps leading to issues. This is within OFB and DGQA scope of things. What is source inspection at OFB by DGQA doing? Some of the blame comes to IA, when bad hardware is accepted by DGQA which is a military run agency.
- The gun muzzle brake strikes and barrel burst are due to shells not the gun. I have said this many times. I have not seen a simple table from IA which shows what shell, fuze, charge combination led to these accidents. The Bofors had 40 such incidents and were never revealed till the Dhanush trials were being published. Same fact that the Soltam upgrade of the 130 mm guns also had issues of muzzle strike. And Dhanush Muzzle opening is larger than the Soltam muzzle brake and yet shell strike happens.

- And IA has many unaccountable inputs. And those giving inputs don't ever see their handiwork. Its the classic "two men and a donkey" story in Panchatantra. Every one has a suggestion that the two men had to implement and in end they lost the donkey. BTW, in a comparative study of folklore tales, India is the only one that has this story. No other culture has a version of this story even in the most distorted version.

- The DG Arty has no urgency in getting guns. That is the problem. He would have found a way to get good guns if he had to do it. In 1956, later Maj. Gen. Jetley, up-gunned katara M4 Shermans with French CN-75-50 high velocity guns and these proved their worth in Asal Uttar. I see no such innovation or forward thinking. Its just buy from a catalog and ride of into battle. when the Russian Krasnopol was trialed against impossible targets and the rounds failed and hence no local mfg was taken up. Meantime China has a factory turning out Krasnopols by the truck load.

ramana
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ramana » 30 Oct 2017 22:54

I need to comment....

sanjayc wrote:Gunning for Dhanush

Dhanush, the flagship indigenous artillery gun, is mired in controversy with the Ordnance Factories Board, its maker, and the Army exchanging accusations over its quality.

By RAVI SHARMA in Bengaluru

INDIA’S most controversial defence deal has also been one of its most successful ones. The 155 mm .39 calibre Haubits Falthaubits 77B (Swedish for Field Howitzer 77B), or simply the Bofors artillery gun, has proved to be a versatile and potent weapons system since its induction into the Indian Artillery Regiment in 1986-87.

With its high rate of fire and accuracy, it became the toast of the Army and the nation during the Kargil conflict with Pakistan (1999) when it had extraordinary success at high altitude. But the acquisition of 410 artillery guns worth $1.4 billion from AB Bofors has been mired in controversy chiefly because of the kickbacks amounting to Rs.64 crore allegedly paid to conclude the deal. An upgrade to Bofors, the 155 mm .45 calibre Dhanush (meaning bow), designed and developed by the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), threatens to be just as controversial.

Dhanush, which is the flagship indigenous artillery gun, appears to be doomed even before its induction and deployment in the artillery. There have been reports of “cheap” and “fake” Chinese parts (bearings) being used in Dhanush, which the Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into.


{The CBI already found it was the local purchasing agent who colluded with OFB officials and European company to get fake Chinese parts procured because the MoD procurement process favors lowest bidder. The original equipment manufacturer(OEM) has now been contracted to supply the parts just as they did for the original Bofors. Indian legal system will ensure the rascal will not get punished. Indian judges favor malfeasants.}

There appears to be a move to sabotage the development of Dhanush as arms lobbies are nudging the Army to opt for an East European or Israeli gun. There are serious issues over the quality of the manufacture of the weapons system. The Army has been insisting on a six-gun battery user exploitation trial. There are design deficiencies in the gun, including a faulty loading system. There have been repeated failures: three of the eight guns undergoing user trials have suffered mishaps, including muzzle brake damage.

{The Soltam upgraded guns also had muzzle strike. The original 39 calibers Bofors also had 40 muzzle strikes. There is a systemic problem in the 155mm shell and gun combination. Instead of pointing fingers the IA should setup a task force to look at the whole problem. Make sure there is PhD in mathematics in the team and not just retired officers. In WWII, Britihs also had this issue and it was life or death for them and they had a cross discipline team that looked at the problem. It was a math PhD who could understand what happened. Same in Vietnam era 175mm gun failures.}

Defence experts say Dhanush is a wonderful platform. A former Director General of the Artillery Regiment said it had “the range, accuracy, consistency and firepower”, but serious issues concerning the quality of the manufacturing process needed to be addressed. Alok Prasad, Deputy Director General (Weapons), OFB, said: “Issues of quality have occurred mainly because of three categories of items: fasteners, rubber springs and seals. It is difficult to find a source in India that can match the quality levels that we are looking for in these items. It is a problem that exists in Indian industry. If we want the kind of quality we need, we have to look overseas. But our procurement process [with contracts necessarily going to the lowest bidder] currently does not allow that. In order to address this lacuna, the OFB is in the process of tweaking the procurement process.”



{The fake Chinese bearings issue was also due to this procurement process of contract going to the lowest bidder regardless of capability.}

But should the quality of category C items hold up the manufacture of Dhanush? Lamented another senior official from the OFB: “The Army has been changing the goal posts. The methodology of trials have been changed. We conceived Dhanush as accepted by the Army, but as in the case of the Arjun tank, since there were no written-down qualitative requirements, the Army kept changing them. In Dhanush, there is a GSQR [General Staff Qualitative Requirements], but it is hardly a few pages and there is plenty of room to read between the lines. Not only do we have to incorporate what senior planners at the Army headquarters perceive the gun should have, but we also have to cater to the preferences of officers in the trial teams. The Army had two trial teams and each of them had different requirements. One wanted the seat of the gun to be high, the other wanted it low. And officers either get posted out or retire, so there is no continuity in thought. Foreign vendors never go beyond the GSQR. They will not follow any changes, and they take you to court.”


{Those trials officers issued scope changes and the process might not have been approved by headquarters or in writing. This begs the question who is in charge of the Gun development not the trials? What accountability is there for such scope changes? Long back on LCA thread I had posted how well meaning officers can offer innocent suggestions at after the development is over and unintentionally put the program behind or even sabotage it. So such suggestions are always vetted and passed won from headquarters. In above example two different teams gave different inputs on the same location of a seat. Who is right and which one should the developer implement? Can the teams justify their inputs? Did the DG Arty have a project officer to oversee the Dhanush development? Or was it ad-hoc?}

The OFB is piqued over the Army’s decision to use a different process of qualification, vis-a-vis foreign manufactured artillery guns, with additional trials (termed as user exploitation) being introduced for the first time in the case of Dhanush. They draw a comparison with the 155 mm .52 calibre tracked self-propelled K-9 Vajra (Thunder) gun system from Korea that was accepted by the Army after just 200 to 250 rounds, a number which, according to OFB officials, is “too low to evaluate a gun system”. Under extensive three-phase user exploitation trials (UET), three Dhanush guns were fired under desert conditions (around 450 rounds at Pokhran, Rajasthan, and Babina in Uttar Pradesh), three guns were fired at high altitude (around 400 rounds in Siachen) and finally they were fired as a battery of six guns. According to officials from the OFB, “over 1,200 rounds have been fired as part of the user exploitation trials”. And over 3,700 rounds have been fired so far in the present campaign to have the gun cleared. But, according to Army sources, the gun is still some way from acceptance and “has not met all the parameters to enable it [OFB] to go ahead with the order for 12 guns [besides the six that are in the user exploitation trials]”.

{OFB is wrong here. The K-9 is an accepted product currently being in service abroad. K-9 would have undergone its own extensive trials to determine wear and fatigue of the barrel and to develop firing tables. So Army asking for the Dhanush to be trialed extensively is not wrong. The Army has user exploitation trials (UET) to develop unit tactics after the development trials are over. In fact the army has fired over 1100 rounds with the M777 imported gun. So that's not unfair. The pique is incorrect. A proper example to look for is the development trials of the M777 gun. It also had many rounds fired with development gun, then with the factory mfg guns to verify all aspects of the gun.
The Army saying not all parameters were not met is true as Dhanush had barrel burst in development attributed to balloting shell, two muzzle strikes with one shell exploding with injuries to the crew. The proper course of action is to have the BOI complete their investigation and assign root cause. On this forum based on press reports the problem was due to OFB shells. Most likely excess clearance between the barrel and the bourrelet causing wobble at max charge.}



Said a senior official from the OFB: “The Army’s philosophy is simple: the OFB is to identify all the problems and address them so that there are no issues post induction. The Army is asking for a perfect gun. But, this is unduly prolonging the trial process. Since we are not producing the gun, our [OFB] facilities are lying idle and our suppliers are frustrated with no orders. It would be better if the Army ordered a few guns on the basis of the trials, exploited and evaluated them, devised a maintenance philosophy by using them, and allowed the product to mature. Perfection in stages. Have an Mk1, then an Mk2, Mk3, and so on. Dhanush is a major system development, and we at the OFB are learning a whole new philosophy in artillery gun development. Under user exploitation, you have to maintain and put more guns on a trial, thereby exponentially multiplying the chances of something going wrong. When foreign guns are not put through this, why should Dhanush be?”


{ Again it goes back to does the IA want a locally made gun or go for an import as it did with the Bofors? Foreign guns will not be put through the process as they have a tight supply chain, no colluding purchase agents (it was OFB officials who colluded in the fake Chinese bearings case), and good mfg. process to ensure shoddy products don't get delivered. This is partly true rant. A gun mfg line cant be idel and suddenly expect to produce. In US defence mfg 90 days idel will cause major requalification as nothing can be sure to meet original design. The workers, the processes, the plant, everything changes. Army and the MoD have to understand this aspect. A steady flow of orders are needed. Cant be afraid to order parts which could be shoddy later on.}

The genesis of Dhanush, called the “desi” Bofors, dates back to 2005-06 when the OFB, with help from agencies such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which readied the firing range tables, first developed the gun and fired over 800 rounds in a bid to qualify it. But the Army evinced no interest. The up-gunning of Bofors was revived in 2010 when the OFB once again approached the Army and chiefly suggested a 45 (up from 39 ) calibre barrel, a change in the electronics component of the gun and an increased range. After initial apprehensions, the Army, in 2011, provided the OFB with two Bofors guns from its war reserves, and a detachment of officers and men was placed at the OFB’s disposal at its Jabalpur unit. Aided by technical documents that had been procured from AB Bofors, the OFB stripped the gun, studied it and started manufacturing, one part at a time. It mechanically up-gunned the barrel to 45 calibre, roped in the Israeli firm Elbit for the electronics suite and included the inertial navigation systems from France’s Sagem.


{ Very good history of Dhanush. Also note the OFB has experience in up-gunning the 130mm guns with the Soltam 155mm 45 caliber barrels. So this is a medium risk project. The risk is the shells and fuzes from OFB itself!!!!}

The Defence Acquisition Council even envisaged a production order of 114 guns. By 2012, the upgraded guns were ready for trials by the Army. But a barrel burst (caused mostly by faulty ammunition) on the very first day of trials soured the programme. Said an Army officer who was at the initial trials: “Among the many shortcomings, the loading system was faulty, and the OFB was not able to give us a gun with fault-free firing. And despite trial officers helping the OFB by even cooking up test figures, it was a lost cause.”


{This is new narrative that the barrel burst with first round. The barrel burst was with the development gun and after many rounds were fired. And root cause was shell wobble and exploding in the barrel. So what is this officer talking about? and if he says the trials were cooked up he needs to file a complaint for he is accusing his own brother officers. Quite disturbing.}

Lt Gen. P.R. Shankar, who retired in October 2016 as the Director General of Artillery and has been closely associated with the Dhanush programme, explained: “There were a number of shortcomings caused primarily by shoddy manufacturing processes such as misalignments, poor finishing and even the poor quality of simple nuts. Importantly, the ammunition was not loading as required, the firing rate was slow due to too many stoppages, and so on. The Army realised that it would be impossible for the OFB to clear user trials in time with the defects involved. The programme would have been stuck in a loop. That is why the Army approached the then Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, and requested that the OFB produce six guns, which would be sent to artillery units for user exploitation. This way, issues which come up could be resolved and the production process could commence simultaneously. User exploitation was specially facilitated to help the OFB. This is the only way they could have been given an order.”

Lt Gen. Shankar added: “The Army is more than willing to accept the gun but not a substandard gun. It is an upgrade of the time-tested Bofors, the range is better, performance is largely satisfactory, the indigenous content is around 80 per cent. Most importantly, for the first time in our history, we have a modern gun which is Indian. It is a matter of pride to have an indigenous system as your main artillery gun rather than relying on imported systems. But there can be no bulk order or clearance until the gun performs well. In war you need a gun that can fire three rounds in 15 seconds, 50 rounds in an hour. Presently, that is not possible.”


Many in the Army question the OFB’s qualifications to undertake artillery gun design and development (since it is primarily a manufacturing entity) . The OFB maintained that it had 110 highly qualified personnel in gun design, ammunition and military technologies. Recently, it won the deal to upgrade the Army’s 130 mm M-46 gun. The existing 130 mm barrel, muzzle brake and breech block would be replaced/modified to make a 155 mm .45 calibre gun capable of firing the entire family of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] ammunition. Said an official: “We won the 300-gun contract against Bharat Forge which had partnered with Elbit and Punj Lloyd, which had a Yugoslav collaborator.”


Accidents during trials, said the OFB official, could happen to any gun. Why single out accidents in the Dhanush trial, he asked. OFB officials were quick to point out the incident in September when, during a routine field firing drill at the Pokhran range, the barrel of the American M777 lightweight howitzer was partly damaged, with the 155 mm artillery shell misfiring and exploding in it and the OFB-manufactured ammunition allegedly “exiting the barrel in multiple pieces”. Said an OFB official: “It was said that OFB-manufactured ammunition caused the problem. This is both unfair and premature.”

Although the investigating team consisting of personnel from the OFB; the Army, the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA); the United States government; BAE Systems, Sweden; and the United Kingdom is yet to come out conclusively with the reasons for the incident, informed sources told Frontline that there were no indications of any deficiencies in the ammunition. On the contrary, a member of the investigating team explained, the “reasons for the accident could range from deficiencies in the quality of the barrel or the armament, design deficiencies, compatibility between the gun and the ammunition, maintenance issues, firing/maintenance drills not being followed, pre-existing issues, or the barrel not being properly cleaned”. He said that “the most likely cause could be that the BAE Systems crew, who were firing the gun, faced an unfamiliar ammunition system and failed to tweak the gun/ammunition system to achieve compatibility”.


{ I thought the firing trials are by Indian Army personnel. Any one recall the root cause analysis tree that I had written up after the M777 Shell exploding? So looks like the barrel was not mopped before firing. Akshay Kapoor note it could be the shell did not seat due to residue. Maybe the OFB shell charges are not clean burning leaving debris/residue.}

Another artillery gun India plans to induct into the Army is the Korean K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled howitzer, which is to be manufactured by Larsen & Toubro in collaboration with South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin. Two Korean soldiers were killed in an explosion during an artillery training session in Gangwon province in South Korea, raising doubts about the reliability of the gun.

{This was due to premature ignition of the charge due to hot barrel residue. Root cause was announced. Problem is the operating procedures want to fire a gun-howitzer like a machine guns which have cartridge system unlike this open charge or bagged charge, which can ignite prematurely. }


Senior OFB officials are confident that Dhanush will clear user trials. They said many of the problems reported in the user exploitation phase would be surmounted by “a fine-tuning of the gun’s subsystems”. This, they hope, will be achieved during the next phase of the user exploitation trials scheduled for November. This will be followed by a final round of firing trials in 2018, by which time it is hoped Dhanush will meet the Army’s standards for an indigenous 155 mm artillery gun that can replace the Bofors gun. Military experts suggest that a Dhanush Integration Centre,(DIC) staffed with personnel drawn from the OFB, the Army, the DGQA and the DRDO, could be set up with the best technical and manufacturing expertise. Expertise from BAE Systems, which is selling India the M777, could also be utilised.


{ Very good move to have this center as it is a first of a kind for India.And roping in BAE which bought the Bofors would be good as they also supply the M777!}

Said Lt Gen. Shankar: “The idea is to come up with a centre of excellence of world standards. Also, the entire gun-manufacturing base in the country, including that available in the private sector, could be utilised to enhance capacities. The present capacity of the OFB cannot produce guns in the kind of numbers with the desired quality which the Army needs.”



http://www.frontline.in/the-nation/gunn ... epage=true



Article ends in a hopeful note and gives us markers to watch for,
Lets look at November to clear the UET and early 2018 to see the Dhanush gun orders.
Thanks Lt Gen Shankar(R)

Would be good to have him in charge of setting up this DIC. DIC will be a mixed service and civilian personnel. Needs some one who cares like Lt. Gen Shankar

Aditya G
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Aditya G » 31 Oct 2017 00:52

My 2 paise worth opinion;

- In 2017 OFB is blaming the procurement process for inability to source quality parts. Who is to blame here?

- Not one eye is cast on MoD's functioning. Where is the MoD who is supposed to program manage this whole affair? Creating a potential indent for 114 guns which Army is unsure of solves nothing.

- OFB comes across as helpless (eg: L1 procurement), or blames somebody else (Army) for every problem. I do not blame the Army for expecting a more thorough trials process with OFB due to perceived quality issues. Remember an arty gun can kill its crew in case of a fault.

ramana
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby ramana » 31 Oct 2017 06:22

I have a question. In the thousands of rounds fired at Kargil there were no instances of barrel burst or muzzle strikes?

By laws of probability it should have occurred as the M-777 during trials in Pokhran had a shell explode in the barrel after only 1160 rounds.

And in the 130mm guns never an instance of muzzle strike or barrel burst?
Even with OFB made ammo?

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby srai » 31 Oct 2017 06:57

ramana wrote:I have a question. In the thousands of rounds fired at Kargil there were no instances of barrel burst or muzzle strikes?

By laws of probability it should have occurred as the M-777 during trials in Pokhran had a shell explode in the barrel after only 1160 rounds.

And in the 130mm guns never an instance of muzzle strike or barrel burst?
Even with OFB made ammo?

Without recorded data, or instrumented data, we can't say for sure. It seems these are not that rare of an event.

Bishwa
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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Bishwa » 31 Oct 2017 07:15

During Operation Vajrashakti in Sept 87 to defend Bilafondla in Siachen, the 130MM guns were working overtime from Siachen Base Camp.

One of the 130MM guns barrel burst killing the gun crew. The gun commander was awarded a Vir Chakra (P).

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby Singha » 31 Oct 2017 09:43

so if anyone though the artillery circus was over with dhanush and atags orders they are sorely disappointed.

part of the reason why i drastically reduced my time on mil forms is because NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS @ web scale ! I could return a year later and still see the same topics, cast of characters and arguments on the threads. and anything not geared to web scale cannot shake the world of today.

things are planned for and built, demoed etc but never inducted in numbers to make a difference, initiative is discouraged and punished.

and if inducted very reluctantly so, with a lot of riders and limiter clauses

and with phoren maal so prohibitively costly one cannot even jump up and down about 300 x and 200 y more like 36 x and 20 y

as a country we are yet to realize our own worst enemy is our own lack of streamlined workflow and removal of rent seekers. cheen will cower away to the depths of yunnan if we get our act together...but we never really do

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Re: Artillery Discussion Thread

Postby vimal » 31 Oct 2017 09:57

OT but Singhaji is spot on. I used to lurk in BRF forums reading about LCA when I was just out of college. Now my kids are in school and I'm still reading the same trials, more trials, lsp, limited trials yada , yada etc... Rant over.


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