Army decommissions 130mm self-propelled guns and 160mm mortars

They will make way for newer equipment employing latest technologies, it says

The Army on Tuesday decommissioned two of the longest serving artillery systems, the 130mm self-propelled M-46 catapult guns and 160mm Tampella Mortars from service at Mahajan field firing ranges.

“These weapon systems, having been in the inventory of the Army for close to 60 years, have been decommissioned to make way for newer equipment employing the latest technologies,” an Army statement said. The ceremony was marked by the customary firing of last salvos.

The 130mm Catapult inducted in 1981, with a range of more than 27 km, 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,” the Army said.

The 160mm Tampella mortars, with a range of 9.6 km, were inducted after the 1962 war with China to “fulfil the need for a weapon system to clear high crests of the northern borders.” Originally an import from the Israeli Defence Forces, they were successfully deployed on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Leepa valley and the Hajipir Bowl and played a crucial part in maintaining the sanctity of the LoC,” the Army said. They also played a significant part in the 1999 Kargil war.

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