Several artillery modernization programs are underway
in India with progress at different stages. Modification of 180
Russian made M46 guns by
installation of 155mm/45 Cal barrels, provided by Israel's Soltam, is
in progress. A parallel program for the modernization of 360
Bofors FH77B 155/39 mm guns
that are currently in service is being considered. Three companies,
including Elbit Systems, Tata and BAE are competing for this program.
The modifications will consist of replacing the barrel and breechblock
and strengthening the under carriage. These programs will be followed
by the acquisition of up to 1,400 new 155mm/52 Cal guns, including
both towed and motorized versions. The final selection process for
suppliers is in progress. Two candidates are short listed for the
motorized version – SWS from Sweden and Soltam from Israel.
For the mobile (truck mounted) gun, India is still
evaluating proposals from Sweden,
acquisitions are currently being considered, especially truck mounted
mobile guns and self-propelled howitzers to support armor formations
equipped with T-90 and Arjun tanks. The SP gun will probably be
mounted on a tracked chassis in order to allow the guns to keep pace
with armored units.
Further improvements are planned for the Pinaka
truck mounted multi-barrel rocket system. Although this system is in
production, only one regiment has been fielded to date. For this
program Israel's IMI is proposing to upgrade Pinaka systems with their
Trajectory Correction System
(TCS), which has recently entered service with the MLRS operated
by the Israel Defense Forces. The TCS can now handle trajectory
correction for multiple rockets, improving the effectiveness, accuracy
and survivability of rocket artillery units. India is also reported to
be interested in the Russian 300mm Smerch long-range
multi-barrel rocket system. At least one example of this system was
sent to India to undergo a series of field tests in 2002 but no
details on a formal order have been released so far.
Under a different program the Russian defense export
agency Rosoboronexport and the Indian Defense Ministry have signed a
contract to deliver modernized extended range Grad rockets for the
Indian army. The new rocket increases the Grad's effective range from
20 km to 40 km.