Military


Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)
155mm/52-caliber towed artillery gun

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. State-owned Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) would develop ATAGS with two private-sector firms, Tata Power SED and the Kalyani Group. Valued at $4.5 billion, the production order could be be a potential windfall for India’s private defense groups, as New Delhi’s army seeks to fill its requirement of over 1,500 towed guns.

As of January 2017, two ATAGS prototypes had been made and were under trials. MoD projected an immediate requirement of 114 guns. The production can start within two years of order placement. With two partners having their own production line, they can meet the requirement faster. In all, ATAGS will take at least four years for induction into artillery.

The task of development and manufacturing of the gun system was allotted to Kalyani Group, based on their know-how, competence, experience and infrastructure. Bharat Forge (a company of Kalyani Group) took up the role of co-developer, providing diverse inputs in design, manufacture and development. The group established India's first private facility to manufacture ordnance including gun barrel, gun superstructure and ammunition transfer system, auxiliary propulsion system including undercarriage, and gun display units for artillery guns.

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.

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

From 1982 the Government of India (GoI) is on the lookout out for a towed 155mm/39-calibre howitzer along with a family of artillery rounds, charges, fuzes and gun-towing trucks. The requirement is for 1,840 howitzers, of which 410 are to be imported off-the-shelf and the rest to be built in-country with progressive local content. The howitzers are required to re-equip 92 of the Indian Army’s Medium Artillery Regiments. From January 1986, bids from both the shortlised contenders are received. On March 11, Bofors AB submitted its best and final offer.

State-owned Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) would develop ATAGS with two private-sector firms, Tata Power SED and the Kalyani Group. Valued at $4.5 billion, the production order could be be a potential windfall for India’s private defense groups, as New Delhi’s army seeks to fill its requirement of over 1,500 towed guns.

Retired Indian Army major general and defense analyst Bhupinder Yadav told Defense News that "Two ATAGS prototypes have already been made and are under trials. MoD has already projected immediate requirement of 114 guns. The production can start within two years of order placement. With two partners having [their] own production line, [they] can meet the requirement faster." An unnamed Indian Army official said that a prototype, with a range of 28 miles, will also undergo trials, testing its abilities in different climates and terrain, along with range accuracy.

The official said, "For serial production to be established, it would take at least upwards of one and [a] half years…In all, ATAGS will take at least four years for induction into artillery," adding that the gun system would be more cost effective than similar systems purchased from foreign weapons suppliers.

DNA Info quoted Praveen Kumar Mehta, director general of DRDO’s Armaments and Combat Engineering Systems, praising the development, saying, "We take pride to do things in the country and even if it's not at par with the international standards, we still strive to make it the best. Hence, this gun is a very good example of how the DRDO and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), along with the industry, can come out with a system within the country and compete with the best in the world. In fact, we look forward to the export of such systems in the time to come."

ATAGS was designed to supplement Dhanush, the 155 millimeter/45 caliber artillery gun that was an indigenously-built improvement on the Swedish-manufactured FH-77B 155 mm/39 caliber towed howitzer. New Delhi acquired 144 of the howitzers from BAE Systems (formerly Bofors) between 1987-1991.

"The task of development and manufacturing of [the] gun system was allotted to Kalyani Group, based on their know-how, competence, experience and infrastructure. Bharat Forge (a company of Kalyani Group) has taken up the role of co-developer, providing diverse inputs in design, manufacture and development," said Rajinder Bhatia, head of the Kalyani Group's Defence and Aerospace division. He added that the group,"has also established India's first private facility to manufacture ordnance including gun barrel, gun superstructure and ammunition transfer system, auxiliary propulsion system including undercarriage, and gun display units for artillery guns."




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