Two weeks ago the Chinese and Indian militaries announced that the latest round of peace talks amid the 17-month standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) separating India from China have failed. The 13th round of talks collapsed after China accused the India side with issuing “unrealistic and unreasonable” demands.
The Indian Army has within the past days announced the fresh deployment of batteries of upgraded anti-aircraft guns along the contested border. The region has witnessed a build-up of many thousands of troops on either side especially since the Ladakh Galwan Valley clash which occurred in June 15-16, 2020 – and resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, and an unknown number of Chinese PLA casualties.
Identified in military statements as L-70 anti-aircraft guns, it appears in response to China operating jet fight fighters out of multiple high-altitude airbases in the region, including deploying from small civilian airports and developing airstrips in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The legacy guns were specifically outfitted and upgraded for that purpose, and have an estimated range of 3.5km, firing at 300 rounds per minute.
The Independent detailed that “New Delhi has deployed modern Ultra Light Howitzer M777 artillery guns along with its vintage, but now-upgraded L-70 Bofors artillery guns at its eastern border along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).” It’s rare to be able to deploy an artillery unit to at least 15,000 feet above sea level, given especially the extreme logistics required.
According to Indian Army Air Defense spokesperson Capt. Sarya Abbasi of the Army Air Defense, the new guns will integrate with ground forces to provide high-tech advanced targeting of any inbound aerial threat. “The guns can bring down all unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned combat aerial vehicles, attack helicopters and modern aircraft,” the captain said.
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“The gun has enhanced target acquisition and automatic target tracking capability under all weather conditions with high-resolution electro-optical sensors comprising a daylight television camera, a thermal imaging camera and a laser-range finder,” the statement noted.
Further, “The gun is also equipped with a Muzzle Velocity Radar for enhancing the accuracy of fire. The gun has the ability to be integrated with tactical and fire control radars which give it more flexibility in its deployment.”
Military analysis news sources have indicated recent tests of the antiaircraft gun in September, wherein the upgraded L-70 intercepted a half-meter wide small drone.