BHUBANESWAR: India on Saturday conducted a series of trials of the fresh batch of Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) from a defence facility off Odisha coast, paving the way for its early induction in the armed forces.
The user specific trials of the gun system, considered to be the best in its class in the world, were conducted from the Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE), a DRDO test range to validate the fire power of the advanced state-of-the-art howitzer.
“This was seventh batch of the ATAGS series which was put on trial. The system performed as expected. The gun system is better than the Bofors in service and other artillery guns available in the world including the ATHOS gun offered by Israel. It will be inducted after Preliminary Specifications Qualitative Requirements (PSQR) trials,” said a DRDO official.
With the successful test firing, the DRDO has claimed that India can produce at least 100 ATAGS howitzers in a year of placement of orders. Conceived in 2013, the project was fast-tracked after the Army wanted an advanced gun to replace older guns in service.
The Army is looking for advanced howitzers for immediate deployment along the China border.
DRDO Chief G Satheesh Reddy said the gun has cleared all developmental tests successfully and is ready for induction.
“The 155 mm and 52 calibre howitzer is the world’s longest range gun system in its class. With a maximum firing range of 48 km, the ATAGS comes with automated magazine and can fire six rounds in a minute instead of three rounds in other guns of same class,” he said.
The gun system weighs around 18 tonne with an elevation up to 70 degrees. It has undergone developmental trials at Balasore, Pokhran and Sikkim. While the ballistic internal trial and proofing were done at PXE, strength and design were validated at Pokhran and winter trials were conducted at Sikkim.
It has been developed by Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) and manufactured in collaboration with Bharat Forge Limited, Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division and public sector unit Ordnance Factory Board.