New Delhi: In a first for the country, India’s private defence player Kalyani Strategic Systems has bagged an export order worth $155 million (over Rs 1,200 crore) for artillery guns from an unspecified country.
In a regulatory filing, Bharat Forge, part of the Kalyani Group, said this order is for a “non-conflict zone”. The company also said the order for the 155 mm artillery gun platform is to be executed over a three-year time period.
The company did not specify which artillery system was being exported and what was the quantity. However, industry sources indicated that the order could be for a Middle Eastern nation.
It is to note that Saudi Arabia had carried out trials of Bharat Forge’s Bharat 52, a 155 mm, 52 calibre towed howitzer. Sources said the gun underwent trials by the Saudi military in 2020. It was the first artillery gun manufactured by the defence firm and has a range of about 41 KMs and is capable of firing six rounds in 50 seconds.
Kalyani Group has multiple variants of the 155 mm artillery guns, including the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun (ATAGS) which has been developed in partnership with the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
The difference between Bharat 52 and the ATAGS is that the latter has a higher firing range as well as rate of fire, besides mobility and other technical aspects. The ATAGS, which has cleared the Indian Army’s firing trial, is currently under metallurgical tests.
Besides Bharat 52, Bharat Forge has several gun systems of 155 mm, including the mounted gun and the ultra-light howitzers.
Second order for India’s artillery system
The order received by Bharat Forge is the second for India’s artillery system. Earlier this year, the country had bagged an order for the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket system from Armenia under the government-to-government route.
The Kalyani Group, however, is yet to get an order from the Indian Army for its artillery systems.
The Indian Army is currently pursuing a Field Artillery Rationalisation Programme (FARP), envisaged in 1999. Under FARP, the Army is supposed to have, by 2025-27, a mix of around 3,000-3,600 155 mm guns but different caliber types of towed, mounted, self-propelled (tracked and wheeled) howitzers.
This was to be achieved through a mix of direct imports, licensed manufacturing and indigenous systems.
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