Trials of High capacity, Indigenous, Long-range 155mm ATAGS howitzer at Pokhran

Artillery of Indian Army will soon get indigenous gun to deal with new challenges that it faces time and again from countries like China and Pakistan. India’s first high capacity, indigenous, long range 155-mm gun and Dhanush’s supplement gun ATAGS (Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System). Trials for it have started at Pokhran field firing range in Jaisalmer district, which will go on for 20 days. Firing table of the gun will be made during the trial.

The gun can fire up to 35-45km. Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has designed the gun which will be made under the joint project of private sector Kalyani Group and Ordnance Factories Board. Senior officers of the Indian Army and DRDO will be present during the trial. This gun’s last trial was conducted in December 2016 at Balasore, Odisha.

According to defence sources, the trials of indigenous gun are being conducted at the Pokhran field firing range and targets at various distances are being attacked by the gun. The firing capacity is being checked and these guns are performing as per expectation. To strengthen the firing capacity of the Army, the ambitious gun is being checked and in the coming days, many senior officers of DRDO and Army will visit Jaisalmer.

It is to be mentioned that American 155 M777 Howitzer gun is being tested since June and the trials will continue till November. Similarly, trial of country’s first indigenous gun Dhanush is also being done at Jaisalmer.

Sources said the shortage of 155-mm, 52-calibre artillery is widely considered the Indian Army’s most worrying shortfall. Over the last 18 years, several international tenders for buying 1,580 towed guns from the international arms market have been stalled. Consequently, no new 155-mm guns have been given to the Army since the purchase of 410 Bofors Howitzers, 30 years ago. With the spectre of Bofors dogging international procurement, DRDO entrusted Pune-based Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) with the ambitious ATAGS project to develop an indigenous towed gun.

Sources said DRDO is developing 155 mm/52 Cal Advance Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) that will upgrade the 155 mm/45 Cal Dhanush in the future. The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), India’s first indigenous 155mm/52-caliber towed artillery gun, will be a joint project of two private-sector corporations. This is a reversal of the usual practice of giving only state-owned companies these kinds of pricey orders.

An official said that a prototype, with a range of 40-45kilometre, will also undergo trials for testing its abilities in different climates and terrains, along with range accuracy.

By: TNN

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