Saturday, October 26, 2013

OFB Developed Bofors 155 mm / 45 caliber Gun Bursts During Trials


A Bofors 155mm/39 caliber gun in action during Kargil Ops.
On October 25, 2013 Defense News reported that the barrel of a prototype Bofors 155 mm / 45 caliber howitzer burst during summer trials. A MOD source told the website that the failure was investigated by an internal committee, which concluded that neither the barrel nor its Indian-made ammunition was at fault.

Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has developed the 155mm / 45 caliber gun by upgrading the 155 mm / 39 caliber Bofors gun inducted into the Army in late 1980s. Using drawings supplied by Bofors as part of the TOT package, OFB lengthened the barrel of the gun (increasing caliber from 39 to 45), so that it could achieve a range of 40 km. In additions, OFB improved the mechanical and electronic suites of the gun.

The Defense Acquisition Council in October 2011 asked Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to manufacture two prototypes of upgraded 155mm/45 calibre Howitzer Gun and offer them for trials by Jun 2013. [via PIB]

On March 7, 2013, the TOI reported that the MOD has placed a letter of intent with the OFB for 114 howitzers.

Following the setback, which has halted the trial process, BAE Systems, which acquired Bofor's howitzer unit, has reportedly offered to help OFB upgrade the gun.

Ironically, the barrel explosion followed a series of trial successes.
On April 29, 2013, the Minister of State for Defense told parliament that the OFB has carried out several internal firings of their in house developed 155mm x 45 caliber Artillery Gun and it has met the planned objectives. However, User Test Fire is yet to be carried out.

Successful Trials at PXE Balasore

On December 28, 2012, the TOI reported that field trials of the two prototype guns were successfully conducted at the Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE) testing range in Balasore, Odisha on December 19, 20 and 23 respectively.

GM, Gun carriage factory (GCF), S P Yadav, told the newspaper that the performance of both the prototype guns had been as expected; they had successfully hit targets 38-40 kilometers away.

The trials were witnessed by Lt Gen Anjan Mukherji, DG Artillery as well as experts from DRDO.

The PXE range is equipped for accurate ballistic measurements and DRDO has compiled the data from the trials.

GCF carried out initial internal trials of the guns in May in Pokharan, which proved to be satisfactory.

Next the guns were tested at Central Proof Establishment (CPE) at Itarsi on November 30, December 5 and 6. 

At CPE, the firing was confined to the arrester butt on zero degree elevation. 

After the CPE firing the guns were subjected to a series of tests to ensure their structural integrity hadn't been compromised. It was determined that all components and assemblies had borne the firing firing stress without any damage.