New Delhi: Indian Army is all set to test the DRDO-made 155 mm 52-calibre advanced towed artillery gun system (ATAGS) in Sikkim. It would be the first high-altitude test of the indigenously-manufactured howitzer.
The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) project was started in 2013 by DRDO to replace older guns in service in the Indian Army with a modern 155mm artillery gun. Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) partnered with Kalyani Group, Tata Power and OFB for this purpose.
The gun has been developed by DRDO’s Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in partnership with Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), Kalyani Group, and Tata Power.
In September 2017, the ATAGS completed successful desert trials in Rajasthan. The gun performed better than expectations hitting targets approximately 48 kilometres away instead of the expected 40 kilometres.
The high altitude test will be crucial for the gun as it will determine its effectiveness in mountainous areas. It should be noted that the entire stretch of the Indo-China border is mountainous as is the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
The utility and need for better howitzers was especially understood during the Kargil War in which the guns proved their effectiveness by assisting Indian troops in capturing heights. The all-electric ATAGS has a chamber size of 25 litres which helps it fire shells at longer distances than guns of a comparable make. It can fire 3 rounds burst in 15 seconds enabling it to target the enemy before they find shelter.