New Delhi: 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,” an industry source told The Hindu.
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 is likely to held in Sikkim in December. “The trials are progressing well. Additional prototypes are being made to speed trials,” one official said.
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.