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Anti-hail guns for Himachal’s problem of crop damage

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    7th Jun, 2021


To help out horticulturists who face crop damage due to hailstorms, the Himachal Pradesh government will be testing the use of indigenously developed ‘anti-hail guns’.

About Anti-hail gun

  • It is a machine which generates shock waves to disrupt the growth of hailstones in clouds.
  • It comprises a tall, fixed structure somewhat resembling an inverted tower, several metres high, with a long and narrow cone opening towards the sky.
  • An anti-hail gun generates shock waves to disrupt the growth of hailstones in clouds.
  • The gun is “fired” by feeding an explosive mixture of acetylene gas and air into its lower chamber, which releases a shock wave (waves which travel faster than the speed of sound, such as those produced by supersonic aircraft).
  • These shock waves supposedly stop water droplets in clouds from turning into hailstones, so that they fall simply as raindrops.


  • It is produced by cumulonimbus clouds, which are generally large and dark and may cause thunder and lightning.
  • In such clouds, winds can blow up the water droplets to heights where they freeze into ice.
  • The frozen droplets begin to fall but are soon pushed back up by the winds and more droplets freeze onto them, resulting in multiple layers of ice on the hailstones.
  • This fall and rise is repeated several times, till the hailstones become too heavy and fall down.
  • Every summer from March to May, frequent hailstorms in the fruit-growing areas of Himachal destroy apples, pears and other crops, causing massive losses to farmers.

New guns

  • The indigenous guns have been developed by IIT Bombay along with Dr Y S Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry at Nauni (Solan).
  • They are expected to cost much lesser and could possibly run on LPG instead of acetylene.