Indian Army has released a RFI to procure 105mm/37 Calibre Mounted Gun System under Make in India program. The proposed system will be employed in mountains and High Altitude Areas along the Northern Borders of the country for execution of Artillery tasks

The Army has been significantly focusing on cranking up its surveillance mechanism along the LAC with China as part of a broad strategy to beef up overall military preparedness.

So far, the Indian Army possesses only towed gun systems, which are longer and heavier than mounted gun systems, and thus offer less mobility in hilly terrains

To sharpen its mountain warfare prowess, the Army is looking to buy 105mm/37 calibre mounted gun system for deployment in the mountains and high-altitude areas along India’s northern borders which it shares with Pakistan and China.

So far, the Indian Army possesses only towed gun systems, which are longer and heavier than mounted gun systems, and thus offer less mobility in hilly terrains.

A Request for Information (RFI) published by the Army on Friday stated field regiments of the Army will be equipped with the new mounted gun systems for “shoot and scoot” capabilities for operations in mountains. The information has been sought from Indian vendors.

The RFI has stated that the gun systems should be able to fire all in-service ammunition during trials, have an inertial navigation system based sight system with capability to provide orientation and fixation to the gun system and the capability to engage targets by direct firing during day and night, while also having a built-in test facility to identify faults and support repairs of the equipment.

The RFI has also sought details from the vendors on the status of development, whether the components of the equipment will be sourced indigenously, the communication system to be used for inter-communication within the gun crew and the maintenance philosophy of the equipment, aside from details about its mobility parameters such as its fuel, emission norms and speed among others.

The latest RFI indicates efforts towards the Army’s artillery modernisation plans which have gained pace in the past few years. Last year, a separate RFI for 155mm mounted gun systems (for medium regiments) was published.

Among prominent Indian firms, Bharat Forge had launched the indigenous Multi-terrain Artillery Gun (MArG) 155 – BR last year during multinational military exercise of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had launched the multi-terrain artillery gun in presence of Army Chief General M M Naravane.

Why Mounted Gun Systems Are Critical

As per a senior Army officer, the advantages of a mounted gun system over a towed gun system are several.

The officer explained that in a towed gun system, the gun has to be towed by the vehicle, increasing the combined length of the vehicle and the gun, while in a mounted gun system, the barrel element is mounted on a body of the vehicle instead, leading to a lesser combined length.

“Roads in the mountains are narrow and the bends are sharp. With the combined length of the vehicle and the gun being towed, the turning radius in mountains becomes low and mobility becomes a challenge,” the officer said.

“But in a mounted gun system, the barrel is mounted atop a vehicle. This reduces the combined length, thus increasing the mobility of the vehicle in difficult mountainous terrains. The reduced size also makes it look like any other vehicle and makes it difficult to detect,” the officer explained.

During firing, the gun in a mounted gun system slides down and gets anchored on ground and is pulled up later.

While as part of its artillery modernisation programme, plans to procure medium guns are underway, sources said field guns are lighter and convenient for deployment in high-altitude areas.

“In medium guns, the barrel is longer and thus the vehicle on which it would be mounted is also bigger. Field guns are lighter and the vehicle carrying it would thus be smaller in size, facilitating increased mobility on difficult terrains,” the officer quoted above explained.

Towed howitzers such as the indigenously made 105 mm Indian Field Gun and the L118 gun are among the artillery field guns in use with the Army.