Regiment of Artillery


© Regiment of Artillery, Indian Army


The Regiment of Artillery constitutes a formidable operational arm of Indian Army, with the units being organised on a Corps and Divisional basis. In an infantry division, artillery consists of three field regiments, one light anti-aircraft regiment and medium guns as and when required. Artillery is now classed as a combat arm (previously was classed as a combat support arm) with priorities shifting between direct support and counter-bombardment. Its role is to dominate the battle field with its immense firepower so that an enemy can neither interfere with the operations nor develop their own effectively. For air and sea targets, gunners operate in conjunction with air and naval forces. The Regiment is the second largest arm of the Indian Army and constitutes almost one-sixth of its total strength. With its guns, mortars, rocket launchers, unarmed aerial vehicles, surveillance systems and missiles, artillery fire-power packs a lethal punch. The destructive capability of artillery firepower rapidly degrades the combat potential of the enemy and ultimately breaks his will to fight. The performance of the regiment during the Kargil conflict proved the battle winning capabilities of artillery. The Regiment is in the forefront of fighting in Siachen - the highest battlefield in the world. Medium and field guns are providing close support to the infantry in Siachen, while artillery observation post officers are manning the piquet along with the infantry. Here too the gunners have distinguished themselves and won many laurels including the Maha Vir Chakra. In peace time, the Regiment is undertaking counter-insurgency operations in Jammu & Kashmir and in the North-East (Assam, Manipur and Nagaland). Air Observation Post and Air Defence branches bifurcated in 1986 and 1994 respectively, have formed new arms. The Artillery Centre is at Nasik, Maharashtra. The Regiment celebrated its 175th Anniversary in 2002.

Outlook India reported in September 2005, that the Indian Army was in the process of inducting an advanced Sound Ranging System (SRS) to locate explosions and hostile firings. The Army has reportedly already held three validation trials in which British Aerospace's subsidiary, Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems, Thales of France and a company each from South Africa and Israel. Selex and Thales have reportedly been short-listed after three rounds of trials held in artillery ranges in Rajasthan's Thar desert. The system being inducted will have an automated, accurate detection of artillery, mortar as well as rocket-fire. The system uses sophisticated acoustic detection technology, to identify enemy artillery fire as well as to locate sources of explosions and hostile firing. Acquisition of such a system is part of the artillery modernisation program and the recently inducted AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder radars from the US, will complement the system and can be used in tandem or separately.

Defence News reported that the Indian Army awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in September 2004 to create an Artillery Combat & Control System (ACCS) dubbed Shakti and modelled along the lines of the US Army's ACCS. The system would automate the artillery's tactical fire control from the regiment level down to battery command posts. Developed by DRDO's Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics (CAIR), the system will comprise computers and intelligent terminals connected as a wide area network. Its main subsystems are the artillery computer center, battery computer, remote access terminal and a gun display unit. The system is expected to improve the Army's artillery operations by a factor of 10 and by efficiently networking the artillery units, Shakti will allow more rapid & accurate firepower. It will also improve the ability of commanders to concentrate that firepower where it is most needed.

The ACCS will be the first and most critical C3I system to be fielded by the Army and once fully implemented, it is visualized as a network of ruggedized tactical computers, extending from the corps fire control center down to individual guns. It also would function as a force multiplier for artillery units. BEL will test the ACCS in both static and mobile roles and the pilot system is expected to be delivered by the end of 2005. The Army thereafter would conduct year-long rugged trials to ensure the system would be effective in combat. The Army aims to spend about $300 million by 2015 to fully implement the ACCS in its artillery units. The Army, which currently has no integrated C3I system, has around 600 operational artillery guns, most of them slated for modernization. The pilot system would link one battery command post, one reserve battery post, one regiment command post, one fire detection center, one fire control center, one observation post, one commanding officer, one battery commander, one artillery brigade commander, one corps artillery commander, command corps artillery, artillery division commander and individual guns.

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