India is planning to add self-propelled long-range artillery to its arsenal after officials conducted a study indicating their effectiveness in shaping Russia’s war in Ukraine. India wants to purchase 400 of these guns, which would make the equipment about a sixth of all artillery pieces in the Indian Armoury, according to officials aware of the details, who wished to remain anonymous.
Indian Military Study
The war in Ukraine has made India the latest country to re-evaluate its armoury and preparedness for war and priorities on the battlefield. Officials showed an Indian military study that explains that long-range artillery with mobility is effective in influencing battle outcomes. Counterstrikes by the enemy are more likely to destroy guns in static positions, officials said, citing the study.
A majority of India’s 100 self-propelled guns are deployed along the LAC (Line of Actual Control), a 3,488 km long border with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Indian officials said that soldiers from both countries have patrolled their respective sides toe-to-toe for the last three years.
India currently uses vintage field guns, mostly of Russian origin, that cannot be moved on their own, though the country has recently started upgrading its artillery units. The military has added US-made light field guns that can be carried on helicopters. Crucially, the Indian military study showed that the country must cut the time needed to locate and fire at a target from five to 10 minutes to about a minute.
The Artillery Units assess gun batteries to acquire targets that are being reorganised and re-armed. Last week, Army Chief General Manoj Pande said at a seminar that these units are being equipped with remotely piloted aircraft loitering munitions and swarm drones.
The nation is adding more long-range rockets and missiles to improve its reach, firepower and reaction capability along the northern border, said General Pande, who did not elaborate on the exact number of additional reinforcements. Enhancing its artillery capabilities will provide India with a strategic advantage and better prepare its armed forces for potential threats and territorial disputes.
The Regiment of Artillery has done a detailed study along the Operations Branch. In the revised artillery profile, the Indian Army is going for more self-propelled and mounted gun systems. According to the Regiment, Firepower is always a battle-winning factor. Manoeuvrability is alone not enough unless supplemented or complemented by firepower.
Self-Propelled Guns in the Indian Army
The Indian Army currently employs the K-9 Vajra (Thunderbolt), which is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer and the leading weapon platform as far as artillery is concerned.
The K9 Vajra was mainly bought for use in deserts, but the India-China standoff prompted them to be deployed in the mountains as well. In order to ensure that these systems performed optimally in the extremely cold weather conditions of the mountains, the Army also procured winterisation kits for the regiment deployed.
The second line of artillery fire comes from the Catapult Mk-II self-propelled Howitzer. This includes fitting a 130mm cannon on the chassis of India’s leading main battle tank, Arjun MBT. The same platform is used in the 155mm Bhim Self-Propelled Artillery Guns.