The department of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Madras is working on developing a next-generation artillery shell that can be used by the Indian Army to hit targets that are nearly twice as far the existing distances, with greater precision. While this is an existing technology, it has to be noted that no country has implemented in artillery shells.
WION spoke to Lt Gen PR Shankar (retd), Professor of Practice at IIT Madras, whose team had exhibited the theoretical possibilities of the project at the recently concluded Defense Expo in Uttar Pradesh. Lt Gen Shankar is a retired Director General of Artillery. He gave great impetus to the modernization of Artillery through indigenization.
He has deep knowledge, understanding, and experience in successful defense planning and acquisition, spanning over a decade. Major 155mm Gun projects like the Dhanush, M777 ULH and K9 Vajra, Rocket and Missile projects related to Pinaka, Brahmos and Grad BM21, surveillance projects like Swati WLR and few ammunition projects came to fructification due to his relentless efforts. He has been a Professor of Practice at IIT Madras’ Aerospace Engineering department and is actively involved in applied research.
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Question: What necessitates the development of such a new generation artillery shell, over and above the existing ammunition?
Prof Shankar: We are working on an artillery shell that is based on the Ramjet technology, this will enable it to travel unto a range of 60kms and above. Most shells that are in use travel around 30kms or so. Extending the range of a shell would be highly useful in a non-contact warfare scenario, like the situations on the western border. Some of the current shells can travel up to 24kms.
We could extend the range unto 30kms by traditional methods, but doubling it to 60kms is going to be a game-changer. Changing the gun would mean a tedious process, but instead, we could change the ammunition and improve the performance.