The Indian Army has issued a solicitation for information to procure an unspecified number of indigenous 105 mm/37 caliber mounted gun systems.
According to the request, the guns would be deployed in the “high altitude areas” along the country’s northern border at an altitude of up to 5,500 meters (18,045 feet) and temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius.
System requirements include firing “all in-service ammunition” and running on India’s mountainous roads and tracks.
The gun should have an “inertial navigation system based sight system with the capability to provide orientation and fixation,” along with a fire control system compatible with an indigenously developed artillery combat and control software system called Shakti.
The fire control system should be able to provide day and night direct and indirect firing capability, the request specified.
Advantages Over Towed Gun
The army currently only possesses 155 mm towed guns for mountain warfare, whose longer and heavier frames impede mobility on mountainous terrain and roads.
The requested mounted gun’s resemblance to “any other vehicle makes it difficult to detect,” News18 quoted an unnamed Indian Army officer as saying.
Speaking to New Indian Express, Lt. General (ret.) VK Chaturvedi said that the mounted gun’s “smaller barrels…may bring down the range which in case of mountains will be enough to reach between 25-30 kilometers (15.53-18.60 miles) as the atmosphere is rarefied.”
“Also, due to mobility these will be mounted on vehicles that can be moved to positions which otherwise are difficult. Also, the system will be comparatively safer from the counter bombardment of the enemy.”
Tracked Gun Also Considered
The requirement comes months after a report that the army seeks to procure 200 155 mm self-propelled, tracked K9 Vajra howitzers, locally manufactured by Larsen & Toubro, after receiving technology from South Korea’s Hanwha Corporation.
The K9s were intended for deployment in the desert and plains. However, the gun’s positive trial performance in the mountain border standoff with China in the Ladakh region reportedly convinced the Indian Army to pursue the Korean weapon. The army has not yet announced the procurement.