The Ministry of Defence has received a proposal from the Indian Army to buy 307 Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems (ATAGS) for deployment along the borders with China and Pakistan, marking a significant step towards ‘Make-in-India’ in the defence sector.
The Indian Army has submitted a proposal worth more than USD 1 billion, which is currently being discussed. According to defence officials, it is expected to be cleared soon and sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval. This would be the first order for the indigenous howitzer, which can strike targets at distances of up to 50 kilometres and is thought to be the best gun in its class, according to the officials.
The forces have been testing the gun at various altitudes and terrain. According to officials, they have been upgraded based on user suggestions. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has shared raw howitzer technology and know-how with two private firms, Tata Advanced Systems and Bharat Forge Group, and they will supply the system to the forces, which will include over 320 high mobility vehicles.
The 155mm/52 calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) trials were completed at the Pokhran Field Firing Range (PFFR) between April 26 and May 2. The ATAGS is an indigenous towed artillery gun system project undertaken in mission mode by the DRDO as part of the Indian Army’s artillery modernization programme, according to the statement.
Along with other DRDO laboratories, the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune is the DRDO’s nodal laboratory for the design and development of ATAGS. The development was carried out in collaboration with two industry partners, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd and Bharat Forge Ltd, as well as active participation from other industries.
The reliability of both guns has been proven by firing multiple rounds in various zones, including burst, intense & sustained modes. The DRDO recently stated that high accuracy and consistency in range and line with maximum range have been established.