By Sudhi Ranjan Sen
India is planning to add more self-propelled long range artillery to its arsenal after officials conducted a study indicating their effectiveness in shaping Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The South Asian country wants to obtain another 400 of these guns, which would make the equipment about a sixth of all artillery pieces in the Indian armory, according to officials aware of the details, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The war in Ukraine has made India only the latest country to reevaluate its armory, preparedness for war and priorities on the battlefield. Officials cited an Indian military study showing that long range artillery with mobility is effective in influencing battle outcomes. Counterstrikes by the enemy are more likely to destroy guns in static positions, the officials said, citing the study.
A majority of India’s 100 self-propelled guns are deployed along a 3,488 kilometer (2,167 mile) disputed border with China. Indian officials said soldiers from both countries have patrolled their respective sides toe-to-toe for the last three years.
India currently uses vintage field guns, mostly of Russian origin, that cannot move on their own, though the country has recently started upgrading its artillery units. The military has added US-made light field guns that can be carried on helicopters.
Crucially, the Indian military study showed that the country must cut the time needed to locate and fire at a target from five to 10 minutes to about a minute.
Units that assist gun batteries to acquire targets are being reorganized and rearmed. Last week, the chief general of India’s army, Manoj Pande, said at a seminar that these units are being equipped with “remotely piloted aircraft and loiter ammunitions and swarm drones.”
The nation is adding more long range rockets and missiles to improve its “reach and fire power and reaction capability along the northern border,” said General Pande, who didn’t elaborate on the exact number of additional reinforcements.