|Manufacturer:||DENEL LAND SYSTEMS, DLS|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
The Bhim self-propelled howitzer is a private venture of the South African company Denel under the supervision of Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It was designed to meet the requirement of self-propelled artillery of the Indian Army.
The Bhim artillery system was developed by the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation in the 1990s. Trials of the Bhim artillery system were successfully conducted in 1998 and 1999, but it remained on pause for over 10 years as Denel was blacklisted by the Indian government.
Now the Government of India has finally remove the ban from Denel as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) after 8 years of Investigation failed to prove corruption charges against the South African state-owned aerospace and defence technology conglomerate. Last year in September, CBI closed the case against Denel Company and claimed it had failed to uncover any “credible evidence” of corruption in the procurement.
Senior CBI officials in 2012 had also visited South Africa to speak with Individuals involved in the deal, but could not find sufficient evidence into alleged wrongdoing by Denel. Denel has supplied 400 NTW 20/14.5 anti-materiel rifles and Indian army under the original deal was to procure 300 more anti-materiel rifles directly from Denel and 300 more was supposed to be locally produced.
Due Ban on Denel Indian army was not able to procure spares and required 14.5×114 mm and 20x82mm ammunitions for the anti-materiel rifles. Bhim a self-propelled howitzer consists of the Denel T6 turret, mounted on Arjun MBT chassis was developed and tested successfully and was also cleared for production, but after Ban on Denel Bhim project was put on back burner . DRDO in 2007 again send Request for proposal (RFP) but only Samsung Techwin responded to the proposal with their K-9 gun, Project was left with single vendor proposal, hence another RPF was re-issued after considerable break to make sure that RPF attracts more proposal.
Indian army had requirement of 400 mounted 155-mm/52 howitzer, out of which 200 could be based on Arjun chassis and another 200 to be mounted on modified TATRA trucks. The Bhim artillery system has a fully automatic ammunition loading system, as well as a turret-mounted auxiliary power unit, which powers all systems. It consists of a Denel T6 turret mounted on an Arjun MBT chassis. The Bhim's secondary armament consists of a single 7.62-mm machine gun.