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Bhim

Prototype 155-mm self-propelled howitzer

Bhim SPH

The Bhim self-propelled howitzer consists of the Denel T6 turret, mounted on Arjun MBT chassis



Entered service -
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 52 ~ 54 t
Length (gun forward) 12.4 m
Hull length ?
Width 4.7 m
Height 3.1 m
Armament
Main gun 155-mm
Barrel length 52 calibers
Machine guns 1 x 7.62-mm
Projectile weight ?
Maximum firing range 41 / 52 km
Maximum rate of fire 8 rpm
Elevation range - 5 to + 75 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 40 - 50 rounds
Machine guns ?
Mobility
Engine MTU 838 Ka-501 diesel
Engine power 1 400 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range 450 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.9 m
Trench 2.43 m
Fording 1.4 m

 

   The Bhim self-propelled howitzer was developed by Denel of South Africa as a private venture. It is based on Denel's considerable experience in development and production of artillery systems. This self-propelled howitzer is named after the Bhima, a hero from Indian folklore. Indian Army requirement is for 200 - 600 new self-propelled howitzers as part of it's field artillery rationalization plan. The Bhim self-propelled howitzer was competing against the Bofors FH-77AD. Trials of the Bhim artillery system were successfully conducted in 1998 and 1999, however later Denel company was accused of paying bribes and it's SPH was dropped from consideration.

   This artillery system is fitted with a complete T6 turret, developed by Denel of South Africa. It is armed with a 155-mm / L52 howitzer, similar to that of the G6-52. Vehicle has a fully automatic ammunition loading system. Maximum range of fire is 41 km with rocket assisted projectile and 52 km with Denel V-LAP rocket assisted projectile. This system is capable of firing standard NATO 155-mm ammunition. Maximum rate of fire is 8 rounds per minute. Sustained rate is 2 rounds per minute. The Bhim is capable of firing 3 rounds burst in 15 seconds. It is also capable of multiple-launch simultaneous impact firing. Up to 6 rounds are launched in different trajectories and hit located 25 km away simultaneously.

   Total onboard ammunition capacity is about 40 - 50 rounds. 20 of these rounds are stored in the autoloader. Turret has ammunition loading hatches on both sides. A conveyor belt may be extended for ground ammunition loading and direct feeding of the gun.

   Secondary armament of the Bhim howitzer consists of a single 7.62-mm machine gun.

   Vehicle is fitted with modern fire control system. It has a fire control computer for automatic gun laying and GPS navigation system. The Bhim artillery system has a crew of four, however it's high level of automation allows to reduce the crew to two men in a fully automatic mode. It consists of commander, gunner, loader and driver.

   The Bhim self-propelled howitzer has a fast reaction time. It can stop from travelling and fire the first round within 30 seconds. It also takes 30 seconds to leave firing position. This feature makes it ideal to use for shoot-and-scoot firing, avoiding counter battery fire.

   This artillery system has a welded hull and turret. Armor of the Bhim SPH provides all-round protection against 7.62-mm armor-piercing rounds and artillery shell splinters. Vehicle is fitted with an NBC protection system.

   This artillery system is based on a modified Arjun MBT chassis. It is worth mentioning that in 2008 it was announced that there will be no further orders for Arjun tanks. Vehicle is powered by German MTU 838 Ka-501 diesel engine, developing 1 400 hp. It also has a turret-mounted auxiliary power unit, which powers all systems, when the main engine is shut down. The Bhim SPH has advanced hydropneumatic suspension system.

   Previous variant proposed by Denel, was the T6 turret mounted on the T-72M1 MBT chassis. This variant has also been tested in India. The T6 turret is self-contained and can be mounted on any other suitable vehicle platform. It's development was finally completed in 2008 and it is offered for export customers.

 
Bhim SPH

Bhim SPH

Denel T6 turret

Denel T6 turret

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