Army just retired two of its longest-serving artillery systems
Two of the longest-serving artillery systems -- the 130mm Self Propelled M-46 catapult guns and the 160mm Tampella mortars -- were fired one last time at the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges in Rajasthan.
Paving the way for the induction of new weapons systems into its arsenal, the Indian Army on Tuesday decommissioned two of its longest-serving artillery systems -- the 130mm Self Propelled M-46 catapult guns and the 160mm Tampella mortars at the Mahajan Field Firing Ranges in Rajasthan.
Indian Army's Director General Artillery Lt Gen K Ravi Prasad attended the customary firing ceremony of the last salvos.
130mm Self Propelled M-46 Catapult Guns
With a range over 27km, the 130mm Catapult guns was a successful merger of two existing weapon systems: Vijayanta tanks and 130mm M-46 guns.
"This hybrid platform was a response to the need for a mobile Artillery gun system to support strike formations on the Western borders, after the 1965 and 1971 wars," an Indian Army official said.
The Russian-made 130 mm M-46 rifled gun barrel was mainly used to engage targets in indirect fire. It was also fired directly on targets up to 1.4 km range.
Inducted in 1981, the guns were employed successfully during a number of operations.
160mm Tampella mortars
Inducted after the war with China in 1962, the mortars have a range of 9.6km and was commissioned to fulfil the need for a weapon system to clear high crests of the Northern borders.
Imported from the Israeli Defence Forces, the mortar was successfully deployed on the Line of Control in the Leepa valley and the Hajipir Bowl and played a crucial part in maintaining the sanctity of the border.
It has played a significant role during the 1999 Kargil war.