Dhanush, the first indigenous long-range artillery gun developed during the project to upgrade the scam-ridden but useful Bofors artillery gun, will be inducted into the Indian Army on March 26. The first batch of six guns will be deployed along the China and Pakistan frontiers, sources in the Indian Army said.

By the end of the year, a complete regiment — comprising of 18 guns — will be in action along the borders shared with China and Pakistan.

It is a 155 mm x 45 mm calibre artillery gun. In February end, the Ministry of Defence, along with the Indian Army approved the bulk production order of 118 of these guns for the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

The guns are manufactured by the Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), each of the artillery guns cost around Rs 14.50 crore and each shell costs Rs 1 lakh.

The Gun Carriage Factory received the Dhanush project in October 2011 and the first prototype was made in 2014. Later, 11 more prototypes were made from which 4,200 rounds were fired.

The guns have passed tests in extreme cold in Sikkim and Leh and also in hot and humid weather conditions in Balasore, Odisha, and Babina in Jhansi. It also worked perfectly in the deserts of Pokhran in Rajasthan. Dhanush has a strike range of 38 kilometre and 81 per cent of its components are indigenously sourced; this will go up to 90 per cent by the end of this year.

Apart from the Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), there is active cooperation from other ordinance factories and PSUs such as SAIL, BEL, and many private sector companies.

In a statement released in February, The Defence Ministry stated that Dhanush is equipped with inertial navigation-based sighting system, auto-laying facility, on-board ballistic computation and an advanced day and night direct firing system.

The ministry further pointed out that the self-propulsion unit allows the gun to negotiate and deploy itself in mountainous terrains with ease.