|Arjun Catapult 130-mm M45 Tracked SP Gun at DefExpo 2014|
DRDO has designed and developed the Arjun Catapult system by mounting the 130 mm, M-46 Catapult Russian gun on an Arjun Mk-1 MBT chassis.
The system has a crew of 8 and a combat weight of 54-t.
Earlier, DRDO developed a similar system called Vijayanta Catapult by mounting the gun on the Vijayanta chassis. Two Indian Army (IA) regiments are equipped with Vijayanta Catapult Guns. The IA intends to extend the life of the 130 mm Catapult system and mount it on the Arjun MBT, to address immediate and interim requirements.
|This might look like the backside of the Arjun Catapult, but it is actually the front side, as is evident from the windshield on the left for the driver. The gun faces the backside. The large recoil of the gun forced the arrangement!|
DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) developed the Arjun Catapult system in quick time, fielding the system for user trials in November 2013, within just four months of receiving the order from the Army. DRDO says the first prototype performed well during trials, but admits further improvements are under incorporation to firm-up the configuration for production.
A user-assisted General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR ) trial of the system is likely to to be held at the Pokharan Field Firing Range in Rajasthan during April-May 2014.
|The driver's seat, facing in the opposite direction to the gun.|
The Army is expected to place an order for 40 catapult gun systems.
K Sreethar, Head - Artillery, CVRDE, says, the Arjun Catapult has better stability, accuracy and consistency than the Vijayanta Catapult
“The gun barrel is mainly used to engage in indirect fire up to a maximum range of 27.4 km. It can also be fired directly on targets up to 1.4 km range. It can be fired at various angles of elevation as well. The catapult has STANAG Level II protection (a NATO standardization agreement) for the crew. It has low silhouette and has integrated fire fighting detection and suppression system,” he adds.
|Looking down the barrel from one of the loader's seat.|
The system features GPS and night vision devices for both the driver and the commander. The ergonomic design of the crew compartment factors in anthropometric data of Indian troops.
Arjun Catapult has excellent mobility because of its high performance engine, robust and effective transmission system and Hydropneumatic suspension.
The 130-mm M-46 rifled gun has a maximum range of 27.4-km.