The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to upgrade the 300 Soviet-era M-46 field guns operated by the Indian Army.
The contract, worth INR2 billion (USD27.2 million), will see OFB upgrading the 130 mm/52 calibre M-46 field guns to the 155 mm/45 calibre versions. The upgrade work will involve replacing the existing muzzle brake, breech block and associated modifications to the recoil system, and will increase the range of the gun for the existing 27 kilometers to over 38 kilometers.
The Indian Army had floated a tender in 2013 for upgrading the lethality of 300 out of the its 1000 M-46 field guns. The defense ministry selected the state-owned OFB on the basis of better capabilities in terms of direct fire, the rate of fire, accuracy, and consistency. The OFB secured the contract by outbidding two foreign players who had partnered with local private sector companies Punj Lloyd and Bharat Forge, Sputnik news agency reported citing a government official.
The upgraded gun will be delivered to the Indian Army by 2022.
M-46 130 mm Towed Field Gun
The 130 mm towed field gun M-46 (Russian: 130-мм пушка M-46) is a manually loaded, towed 130 mm artillery piece, manufactured in the Soviet Union in the 1950s. The gun was first observed by the west in 1954.
The gun has a combat weight of 8.4 tons and a length and width of 11.84 meters and 2.45 meters.
M-46 was developed from the M-36 130 mm naval gun used on ships and for coast defence and replaced the obsolete 122 mm gun M1931/37 (A-19), 152 mm howitzer-gun M1937 (ML-20) and other World War II era field guns, such as 122 mm Model 1931, 152 mm Model 1910/30, 152 mm Model 1935 (BR–2).
For many years, the M-46 was one of the longest range artillery systems around, with a range of more than 27 km. There is also a Chinese copy, called the Type 59.