India’s Indigenously Developed Artillery Gun Successfully Clears Engineering Trials Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System in firing mode. (DRDO/Facebook)

India’s indigenously developed 155-mm/52-calibre towed artillery gun, called the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), has successfully completed “engineering trials” conducted by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) between 13 and 20 December. In July 2016, DRDO had successfully conducted the proof firing of armament system for the gun during technical trials.

ATAGS is one of DRDO’s biggest projects and is aimed at meeting army’s need for more than 2,000 towed artillery pieces. As a part of its 1999 Field Artillery Rationalization Plan, the army aims to acquire 2,800-3,000 artillery pieces.

With a firing range of 40 kilometres, the gun boasts of advanced features such as quick deployability, high mobility and advanced communication system with night firing capability. It weighs around 12 tonnes and is capable of firing five successive rounds in short duration. The 1999 Kargil War illustrated the utility of light-weight artillery that can be quickly deployed in mountainous regions.

It has been developed by DRDO, in partnership with two private sector firms - the Kalyani Group and Tata Power - and the Ordnance Factory Board. Each gun is expected to cost around 15 to 18 crore. A contract for building 1,580 towed guns would add up to more than Rs 25,000 crore. This can prove to be a big boost for Prime Minister Narender Modi’s Make in India initiative.

The ATAGS will supplement the indigenously designed and manufactured 155 millimeter/45 calibre artillery gun, Dhanush, which is an improved version of the FH-77B 155 mm/39 calibre towed howitzer manufactured by Bofors and of which India acquired 414 between 1987 and 1991.

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