India Upgrades Its Artillery Systems Based On Lessons From The War In Ukraine

Dhanush howitzer during Republic Day Parade 2017

“The war also brought out the matter of increased survivability, the source said, referring to reports which suggested that Russia had lost 5,000 guns and rocket systems so far.”

India continues to draw many operational and tactical lessons from the war in Ukraine.[i] The excerpted article from The Hindu reports that India’s Branch of Artillery, an operational arm of the Army, conducted a study of the Ukraine conflict and will subsequently convert all existing towed and self-propelled artillery systems making 155mm the standard caliber. The article also notes that the Army will be looking to India’s defense industry to update these systems with a focus on buying indigenously produced munitions. Officials in India’s Ministry of Defense stated concerns about the availability of ordnance for various systems after the war in Ukraine began.[ii] Overall, this marks an example of Indian officials taking another lesson from the war in Ukraine resulting in a long-term change for the country’s armed forces.


Dinakar Peri, “Indian Army draws lessons from Ukraine war, revises artillery requirements,” The Hindu (English-language newspaper in India), 17 September 2023.

Drawing lessons from the Ukraine war, the Indian Army has revised the profile of its Artillery regiment, with focus on a mix of mobility and augmented long-range firepower.

The Army expects to achieve its target of converting the entire artillery to medium 155 mm gun systems by 2042…

“The Regiment of Artillery has done a detailed study along with the Operations Branch. In the revised Artillery profile, Army is going for more self-propelled and mounted gun systems,” the source said…

The Army has embarked on a plan to make 155 mm the standard calibre of all artillery guns…

The war also brought out the matter of increased survivability, the source said, referring to reports which suggested that Russia had lost 5,000 guns and rocket systems so far.

There is a need for methods for force preservation as well as to adopt shoot-and-scoot techniques. “The Russia-Ukraine conflict also shows that we need to be prepared for such a prolonged war,” the source said.

…the Army inducted the M777 Ultra Light Howitzer (ULH) in November 2018. It has since inducted all 145 guns contracted. In addition, 100 K9-Vajra Self Propelled Guns have been inducted and the Defence Acquisition Council has approved procurement of 100 more.

…The Army has also placed orders for 114 Dhanush guns, indigenously upgraded based on the Bofors guns, and 300 Sharang guns, which are upgraded from 130mm guns to 155 mm…

In addition, Request for Proposals (RFPs) have been also issued for two more gun systems — 155mm/ 52 calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) and Mounted Gun System (MGS). The MGS has crew and ammunition onboard the vehicle and has shoot-and-scoot capabilities, officials said. The Army is looking for around 300 guns.…In addition to guns, there is a major focus on indigenisation of munitions, officials said, stating that four types of munitions were currently under trials.


[i] The Indian Army carried out an exercise in the summer of 2022 that worked through tactical communication issues related to the war in Ukraine and earlier this year policy makers outlined several capabilities that India should develop in its armed forces after watching how Russia and Ukraine have made adjustments on the battlefield, see: Matthew Stein “Lessons For India From The War In Ukraine,” OE Watch, 05-2023.

[ii] For more information on India’s issues with deliveries of ordnance since the war in Ukraine began, see: Matthew Stein “India Takes a Step Away from the Russian Defense Industry,” Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, 31 July 2023.

Image Information:

Image: Dhanush howitzer during Republic Day Parade 2017
Attribution: Government Open Data License – India