DRDO 155mm Artillery Program

Can DRDO design Artillery able to pass into mass production?


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WolfPack86

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Indigenous artillery gun may go back to drawing board after barrel burst
An indigenously developed artillery gun which suffered a barrel burst in field trials earlier this month injuring four army personnel may need to go back to the drawing board, officials told ET. The malfunction of the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), a 155 mm/52 calibre gun system designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), occurred during internal developmental firing at the Pokhran (Rajasthan) firing ranges on September 12.


The incident is being viewed as a setback to defence modernization efforts, especially since the army had put on the backburner a proposal last year to procure 400 artillery guns of the same type from Israeli defence manufacturer Elbit Systems, as the homemade one was still under development. The remaining 1,180 guns were to be produced by the Ordnance Factory Board. The proposal was put on hold as the DRDO project was heading towards completion.


The mishap has also come at a time when the gun system had successfully completed trials and production of the first 40 was to begin shortly. The gun barrel, manufactured by Bharat Forge Ltd, exploded right after a firing test that was being supervised by DRDO officials, sources said. When contacted, a DRDO spokesperson said an inquiry committee has been set up to look into the cause of the accident. “As soon as the report comes, we can share details. Cause is not very clear at present,” the spokesperson added.


While the cause of the accident would be revealed after a detailed inquiry, officials said that it could have occurred due to the inferior quality of metallurgy or the barrel not meeting prescribed standards. An official told ET that design parameters will have to be brought back to the drawing board to ensure that the gun has reliable technology that is safe for users. The accident comes at a particularly difficult time, given the border standoff with China and the neighbouring country’s continued collusion with Pakistan on its support for cross-border terrorism.


It also marks a further delay in the ATAGS project that was started in 2013, with production scheduled to begin in 2019. The project was delayed earlier during the development cycle, with issues cropping up in the gun system’s recoil systems as well as delays in the manufacture of sub systems. DRDO’s Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) had partnered with private players, including Bharat Forge and Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division for the project, with the understanding that orders would be divided between the two companies after successful trials.


Officials said the accident will impact the induction of an urgently required modern gun system into the Indian Army. The army has a Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan, drawn in 1999, to acquire 2,800-3,000 155 mm/52-calibre guns of all kinds and 155 mm/39-calibre lightweight howitzers by 2027. These include 814 truck-mounted guns, 1,580 towed guns and 180 wheeled self-propelled guns.
 

Bleh

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After firing 5000 rounds, packing 7 charges sounds like a failure test... And they're surprised that the barrel failed?

Or was it another push-till-it-fails? Or do they now want a 60km range while they place an order for Athos (without that much "testing" ofcourse)?
 

vampyrbladez

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After firing 5000 rounds, packing 7 charges sounds like a failure test... And they're surprised that the barrel failed?

Or was it another push-till-it-fails? Or do they now want a 60km range while they place an order for Athos (without that much "testing" ofcourse)?
Sounds like someone tampered with the ammunition charge to create this incident.

Charge 7 round is at fault not Charge 7 barrel. With probe started in second week of September, this will likely be resolved by October.

Manu Pubby is a known dalal. He is trying to push ATHOS gun. However after 1000 rounds being fired by TATA and Bharat Forge guns, it seems unlikely that barrel was issue.
 

Bleh

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Sounds like someone tampered with the ammunition charge to create this incident.
If it was a 7 charger barrel, then only tampering possible is if someone adds more explosive... If the round was a dummy, that means it was a structural failure.

Some metallurgy change or slight thickening of chamber would have to be done in worst case scenario.
 

Bhadra

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After firing 5000 rounds, packing 7 charges sounds like a failure test... And they're surprised that the barrel failed?

Or was it another push-till-it-fails? Or do they now want a 60km range while they place an order for Athos (without that much "testing" ofcourse)?
What kind of question is that ??
DRDO firing has nothing to do with users trial.. or you wish to abolish user trial and pass a dunda as a gun.. ??

If the Army has to pay for a 25-liter chamber and additional four tons of weight for features claimed by the manufacturer then those are to be tested. Can this gun be supplied at the cost of Dhanush ?? Why pay additional five crores ?

I think rationality has left you long back,
 

Bleh

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Ok, I've found put several hundred 7charge rounds were fired before this incident, but no such rigorous user trial were held for the so-called backup Athos.

Now the question is whether that failure rate is indeed unacceptable, or was it a keep-pushing-till-it-fails-sort of "trial" so that the DALALs can keep the money Elbit paid them.
 

garg_bharat

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Ok, I've found put several hundred 7charge rounds were fired before this incident, but no such rigorous user trial were held for the so-called backup Athos.

Now the question is whether that failure rate is indeed unacceptable, or was it a keep-pushing-till-it-fails-sort of "trial" so that the DALALs can keep the money Elbit paid them.
I think undue speculation is not good. Let this issue be between user, developer and manufacturer to sort out. Maybe the gun will be back in test in a month or so.
 

Bleh

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I think undue speculation is not good. Let this issue be between user, developer and manufacturer to sort out. Maybe the gun will be back in test in a month or so.
Yeah. That would mean it was something minor.

Personally I think in an attempt to reduce max weight they have kept the tolerance too low.
 

vampyrbladez

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If it was a 7 charger barrel, then only tampering possible is if someone adds more explosive... If the round was a dummy, that means it was a structural failure.

Some metallurgy change or slight thickening of chamber would have to be done in worst case scenario.
The OFB round was designed for 340 megapascals while the ATAGS can withstand 440 megapascals.

Thus it can easily withstand 7 charge shells. This reeks of tampering and the timing around the OFB strike is also noteworthy.
 

Indrajit

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While the cause of the accident would be revealed after ahttps://defenceforumindia.com/attachments/upload?type=post&context%5Bthread_id%5D=44265&hash=ee342e4e3d6ea06b42fb15634bf27313 detailed inquiry, officials said that it could have occurred due to the inferior quality of metallurgy or the barrel not meeting prescribed standards. ]
Yeah sure, some unnamed official “says” things lIke “inferior quality of metallurgy “ even before a detailed enquiry. Obviously , that’s the logical conclusion to make when one of the worlds top companies in metallurgy is involved. 🙄
 

indiatester

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What kind of question is that ??
DRDO firing has nothing to do with users trial.. or you wish to abolish user trial and pass a dunda as a gun.. ??

If the Army has to pay for a 25-liter chamber and additional four tons of weight for features claimed by the manufacturer then those are to be tested. Can this gun be supplied at the cost of Dhanush ?? Why pay additional five crores ?

I think rationality has left you long back,
Sir, we in the computer industry use a term called MTBF
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_time_between_failures

MTBF is something the customers are aware of too and we are taken to task if our MTBF is bad.

Question here is, is the requirement for an infinite MTBF?
 
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Dessert Storm

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Yeah. That would mean it was something minor.

Personally I think in an attempt to reduce max weight they have kept the tolerance too low.
Maybe.... but I think reducing the weight won't be it. The guns that have been tested all along would be inducted first (given the situation on border). Weight reductions can come in Mark II.
Edit: There were talks of weight reduction too.
 

Bleh

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Maybe.... but I think reducing the weight won't be it. The guns that have been tested all along would be inducted first (given the situation on border). Weight reductions can come in Mark II.
Still it's weight is already 18t due to such large, everything... If further reenforement of breech adds a ton or two then these paid DALALs of Elbit, could use that to reject the platform.
 

jik60

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Sir, we in the computer industry use a term called MTBF
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_time_between_failures

MTBF is something the customers are aware of too and we are taken to task if our MTBF is bad.
Question here is, is the requirement for an infinite MTBF?
Instead of MTBF, FIT (Failure in time) rates, FTTI (Fault Tolerant Time Interval), FMEA ( Failure Mode and Effect Analysis ), DFMEA will be applicable over here as ATAGs are complex electro mechanical device with a hint of automotive and battery engineering. This failure analysis methods are quite common in heavy industries specially in automotive/automobile industry.

Might be they have already done these failure analysis way earlier or may have performed some kind of Hardware In loop (HIL) simulation or testing but believe me the actual Product in Loop (PIL) or simply live testing of a finished product is completely different ball of game (Coming from my own personal experience). So my best suggestion would be let wait for the investigation to complete, let them firstly, do the RCA (Root Cause Analysis) of the failure.

let the engineering and physics provide their verdict first, then we can shove our politics and conspiracy theory into it.
 

WolfPack86

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Money burnt on faulty ammo could have bought us 100 new Howitzers, fumes Army
The Indian Army funds spent on dangerously faulty ammunition supplied by the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) over the last six years would have been enough to purchase 100 medium artillery guns.


This staggering claim has been made in an internal Army report to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), excerpts of which have been accessed by India Today. Calculating the loss to the exchequer due to poor quality OFB ammunition to be Rs 960 crore between 2014 and 2020, the Army notes, “Rs 960 crore roughly means 100 155-mm medium artillery guns could have been bought for this amount.”


The OFB, administered by the MoD’s Department of Defence Production, is one of the world’s oldest government-controlled production organisations, and oversees a nationwide network of factories that manufactures ammunition and weaponry for the Indian armed forces.


The ammunition being criticised in the new Army report includes 23-mm air defence shells, artillery shells, 125-mm tank rounds and different calibres of bullets used in infantry assault rifles.


‘POOR QUALITY’ AMMUNITION


The Army report accessed by India Today highlights the ‘poor quality production’ at the OFB, quantifying the losses both in monetary resources as well as human life due to accidents caused by faulty ammunition.


“Lack of accountability and poor quality of production results in frequent accidents. This results in injuries and deaths of soldiers. On an average, one accident takes place per week,” says the report that has been shared with the MoD, including accident and casualty figures.


There have been 403 accidents related to faulty ammunition since 2014, though the numbers of accidents have steadily reduced. From 114 accidents in 2014, the number reduced to 53 by 2017, rose again to 78 in 2018, and dipped once again to just 16 in 2019. But the human casualty figures are far more disturbing.


Listed under the heading ‘Casualties due to OFB manufactured ammunition and armament’, the report notes 27 troops and others have been killed in faulty ammunition accidents since 2014, with 159 being seriously injured, including permanent disabilities and loss of limbs.


There have been 13 accidents so far in 2020, though none of them has resulted in a death.


Calculating Rs 960 crore as the monetary write-off as a result of faulty OFB ammunition since 2014, the Army report notes that Rs 658.58 crore worth was disposed of within the ammunition’s shelf life between April 2014 and April 2019, while 303.23 crore worth of mines were disposed of within their shelf life following a major ammunition depot fire in Pulgaon, Maharashtra in 2016.


‘MINI-OFB’ TYPE SUPPLIERS NEEDED


The Army’s exasperation with OFB supplied ammunition has simmered over decades, reaching a breaking point in the last two years, forcing an effort to approach the Indian private sector to meet ammunition needs. But as India Today reported earlier this month, the Army has pulled the plug on five of seven proposals that would have seen private firms step in to keep ammunition supplies running.


However, the effort to get private companies to become ‘mini-OFB’ type suppliers is desperately needed.


Earlier this month, the Army’s ‘ammunition-in-chief’, the Master General Ordnance (MGO) Lt Gen Upadhya said at an industry interaction, “OFB is in any case available to us. We want a parallel capacity to come up. It may not be at the scale of the OFB. But to start with, at least a parallel set up should come and various types of ammunition would then be available from the industry which can then settle down and in the times to come, a scaling up can take place.”


The Army has a difficult situation on its hands, and one that needs to be navigated tactfully. On the one hand, pushback against the OFB goes directly against the MoD itself, even though the latter has begun a process of modernisation of the OFB.


Just this month, the Ministry of Defence appointed a KPMG-led consortium to advise the government on how to lift the OFB out of its legacy socialist structures and to corporatise it. OFB unions at factories across the country have aggressively opposed the corporatisation drive.


On the other hand, the effort to include private sector firms has largely been one step forward and two back, with several companies — both big and small — expressing willingness to invest in capacity to produce and supply ammunition, but require a degree of clarity and assurance of orders, since they do not have the financial cushion and leeway enjoyed by state-owned concerns like the OFB.


What the numbers in the new Army report indicate is that things have come to a head. And with India’s forces massed on the border in a war-like situation that will almost definitely stretch into the foreseeable future, the Army hopes the glaring numbers will force a solution to its decades-old ammunition quality, shortage and assurance problems.
 

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