Monday, 6 June 2011

Indian Tracked Self Propelled Artillery Project Bhim Back On Track?


The most ill fated project of DRDO perhaps was Bhim. It was developed to take advantage of the sturdy chassis of Arjun tank and the advanced artillery gun of South African manufacturer Dennel.

This artillery system is fitted with a complete T6 turret, developed by Denel of South Africa. It is armed with a 155-mm / L52 howitzer, similar to that of the G6-52. Vehicle has a fully automatic ammunition loading system. Maximum range of fire is 41 km with rocket assisted projectile and 52 km with Denel V-LAP rocket assisted projectile. This system is capable of firing standard NATO 155-mm ammunition. Maximum rate of fire is 8 rounds per minute. Sustained rate is 2 rounds per minute. The Bhim is capable of firing 3 rounds burst in 15 seconds. It is also capable of multiple-launch simultaneous impact firing. Up to 6 rounds are launched in different trajectories and hit located 25 km away simultaneously.

Total onboard ammunition capacity is about 40 - 50 rounds. 20 of these rounds are stored in the autoloader. Turret has ammunition loading hatches on both sides. A conveyor belt may be extended for ground ammunition loading and direct feeding of the gun.

Secondary armament of the Bhim howitzer consists of a single 7.62-mm machine gun.

Vehicle is fitted with modern fire control system. It has a fire control computer for automatic gun laying and GPS navigation system. The Bhim artillery system has a crew of four, however it's high level of automation allows to reduce the crew to two men in a fully automatic mode. It consists of commander, gunner, loader and driver.

Unfortunately Dennel got involved in a bribery scam and was blacklisted from India, thus ended its participation in the project. The only vendor left in the fray was the  K-9 South Korean Firm. Because of the single vendor situation whole contract was scrapped..

In its June edition of tech focus DRDO claims that the army is satisfied with the new look Bhim. Please read the document given below.

DRDO Tech Focus