Defence Technology Current Affairs

Dhanush artillery gun clears third and final trials

The indigenously upgraded artillery gun Dhanush has successfully completed final user trials and is ready for induction into Indian Army. During third and final phase of user exploitation firings conducted from May 31 to June 7, 2018 at Pokhran field firing range, six Dhanush guns were fired in battery formation with 301 rounds each. With this test, Dhanush artillery gun has been tested in all terrains

Dhanush

Dhanush is upgraded version of Swedish 155-mm Bofors howitzers, which India procured in the mid-1980s, based on its original designs. It is also called desi Bofors. It is 155mm x 45mm calibre artillery gun. It has been developed by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Kolkata based on requirements of Indian Army and manufactured by Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory (GCF).

Its armament system comprises a barrel, muzzle brake, breech mechanism and recoil mechanism to fire 155 mm calibre ammunitions. It has strike range of 38 kilometres (11 km more than imported Bofors guns) with accuracy and precision. It provides greater fire power, depending on type of ammunition used. It also has night firing capability in direct fire mode.

It has several significant advance features, including an all-electric drive, high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system and automated command and control system. It has six round magazine, instead of standard three round. It weighs slightly more than normal due to the larger chamber. Its 81% components are indigenously sourced and it will be scaled up to 90% by 2019. Its imported systems include power pack, parts of the electronic suite, and some seals and bearings. Each of this gun costs about Rs 14.50 crore while each shell costs Rs. 1 lakh. Indian Army has ordered 114 guns that will be delivered within four years.

Previous test

The first phase of trials was conducted between July and September 2016 at Pokhran and Babina ranges. The second phase was conducted between October and December 2016 at Siachen base camp with three guns. Total of 1,520 rounds have been fired in all the three phases. During these trials, guns travelled extensively in towed and self-propelled mode in desert and high-altitude terrains and each gun clocked over 1,000 km, demonstrating their mobility.

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Bhabha Kavach: BARC develops cheaper, lightweight bulletproof jackets

The Bhabha Atomic Reseach Centre (BARC) has developed Bhabha Kavach, a next-generation bulletproof jacket that is cheaper, lightweight. It has been named after Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, father of Indian nuclear programme. The jacket was developed at BARC’s Trombay centre in Mumbai in response to request from Ministry of Home Affairs and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Key Facts

Bhabha Kavach is made of boron carbide and carbon nanotube polymer composite and weighs just 6.6 kg. The materials used in it reduce weight by nearly 50% as compared to presently used heavy steel-armoured jackets that weigh between 10kg to 17kg. It has passed over 30 tests carried out by certified agencies. These materials have been indigenously developed at BARC and are spin-off from nuclear technology

Apart from being lighter, sturdier and more reliable, Bhabha Kavach is also cost effective. It will cost Rs 60,000-70,000 as compared to imported bulletproof jackets costing around Rs 1.5 lakh. Bhabha Kavach is able to withstand eight 7.62mm bullets fired from AK-47 rifle from distance of 5-10 metres. It can even withstand 5.56mm bullet of Indian Small Arms System (INSAS).

It is currently being tested by joint team of CRPF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). The northern command of Indian Army is also testing variant of jacket in Jammu & Kashmir. If jackets pass various tests, it will be manufactured by Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited, a defence public sector unit.

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)

The BARC is India’s premier nuclear research facility based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is multi-disciplinary research center with extensive infrastructure for advanced research and development. Its R&D covers entire spectrum of nuclear science, engineering and related areas. BARC’s core mandate is to sustain peaceful applications of nuclear energy, primarily for power generation.

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