- An indigenous artillery gun, Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), being jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the private sector has set a new world record in range by hitting targets at a distance of 48 km.
- “During trial firings at Pokhran ranges last week, ATAGS registered the longest ever distance of 48.074 kms, surpassing the maximum ranges of 35-40 kms fired by any artillery gun system in this category.
- ATAGS is a 155mm, 52 calibre towed artillery gun being developed in mission mode by DRDO as a part of the Army’s artillery modernisation programme.
- The record was achieved with special ammunition, “high explosive – base bleed” (HE – BB) by the ATAGS variant developed by Kalyani Group.
- The development is being done through a consortium based model, similar to that adopted for the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launch system.
- It was designed by DRDO’s Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune.
- In addition, Bharat Forge Limited of Kalyani Group, Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division and Mahindra Defence Naval System from the private sector are involved in a big way along with the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
- For instance, the barrel and breech mechanism, on both variants of ATAGS, was developed at Kalyani Group.
- Summer trials are currently underway and the next round of trials are likely to held in Sikkim in December.
- The trials are progressing well. Additional prototypes are being made to speed trials.
- The gun has several significant features including an all-electric drive, high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, automated command and control system.
- It has a six round magazine instead of a standard three round magazine. Also, the gun weighs slightly more than normal due to the larger chamber.
- The Army has not inducted any new artillery gun since the Bofors in the 1980’s.
- After decades of failed attempts, the service is gearing up to induct the Dhanush artillery gun which is an indigenously upgraded variant of the Bofors gun.
- In addition, last November India signed a contract for 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers from the US.