Friday, December 1, 2023

Solar Group Hits The ‘Indigenous’ Mark Again With New ‘Maheshvarastra’ System: Likely Export Options, Amidst $6.8 Billion Global Artillery Market By 2032

By Aritra Banerjee

Solar Group’s Economic Explosives Limited (EEL) recently made headlines for being the first private sector player to receive an order from the Indian Navy to manufacture fully indigenous 30-mm High-Explosive ammunition meant to feed the AK-630 guns. Now sailing ahead from a historic milestone, the Nagpur-based company is all decked up to develop two High Mobility Long Range Precision Rocket Systems, Maheshvarastra 1 and Maheshvarastra 2. The proposals have already been submitted to the authority under the Make-II category.

According to EEL Director Dr Manjeet Singh, the company has extensively studied the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and the findings have led him to believe that the use of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) has proven to be a game-changer in military technology. HIMARS, supplied by the United States, has, by several independent accounts, given Ukraine an asymmetric edge over its conventionally more powerful battlefield adversary, Russia.

Armed with data from an active conflict EED’s Maheshvarastra-1 and Maheshvarastra-2 may be the firepower India needs as it looks to modernise its artillery. The effective use of long-range artillery places a critical role in shaping the outcome of the conflict. The Indian Army’s iconic use of the Bofors guns in the Kargil conflict (1999) helped turn the tide of war back to India’s favour, despite facing numerous tactical and strategic losses in the conflict’s initial phase.

Now, as geopolitical realities and the threat of conventional war is no longer relic of the past, the indigenous Maheshvarastra is touted to be a strategic game-changer for India as the army moves towards artillery modernisation.

Here Is What We Know About The Maheshvarastra Systems

The Maheshvarastra-1 is being designed to be a Multi-Barrel Guided Rocket Launch System. The expected range of the weapon system is 130 kilometres. Mobility is a crucial focus area so that it could be used by forward formations deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The systems will likely be able to target strategic targets located in the west and demolish an adversary’s critical infrastructure facilities, which are presently under the purview of the SMERCH system, which is an import from Russia. It has been indicated that the Maheshvarastra-1 will be a highly flexible piece of military hardware equipped with a 250 kg custom-designed warhead capable of eliminating targets in many different operational environments.

The Maheshvarastra-2, on the other hand, will be designed and developed as a guided rocket system with a 250 km range. This system has been touted as having the capability to eliminate strategic targets situated deep behind enemy lines on both the Western and North-Eastern fronts. The Maheshvarastra-2 will sport a 375 kg multi-purpose warhead for target neutralisation.

Both the Maheshvarastra-1 and Maheshvarastra-2 will be Inertial Navigation System (INS)/Global Positioning System (GPS) guided for them to ensure accuracy, with the Circular error probable (CEP) lower than 10 meters to be able to inflict aerial damage to its intended target.

EED has offered both systems based on the specifications from the best world has to offer in this weapons class. Over 75% of the Maheshvarastra systems will have indigenous content, marking yet another milestone for the company in its indigenisation growth story.

The company is also helping shape the Government of India’s Make-For-World vision and 2025 $5 Billion defence export target with a recent agreement signed with Armenia to supply numerous Pinaka variants. The Maheshvarastra systems are touted to build upon that export experience.

Industry analysts forecast that the global artillery systems market will reach $6.8 billion in 2032, driven by rising military spending and advanced artillery systems; this, coupled with the demonstrated demand for HIMARS, may see EED’s Maheshvarastra systems duke it out in the global export market, propelling India’s stature as a major defence export player in decade to come.

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