- It is reported that two variants of indigenous 155mm artillery guns are at final stages of being handed over to the Army. The ‘Dhanush’ is being made by the Ordnance Factory Board, while the Advance Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) has been designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and will be manufactured by Tata and Bharat Forge. Six of the OFB-produced Dhanush are now undergoing “battery fire tests”—all guns firing collectively—the plan so far being to get 18 guns by March 2019. The MoD is “positive” on the ATAGS and very soon will place an order for 12 guns. Meanwhile, 145 of the M777 ultra light howitzers will be inducted from September 2019.
ATAGS is a 155mm/52 cal heavy artillery gun and eventually 1500-2000 such guns are to be inducted into Indian Army.The shell fired from ATAGS can hit a target 48 km away.The artillery range can be further increased during mountain warfare as the artillery deployed will fire shell at higher angle of elevation. It has advanced features like high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, automatic command and control system with night capability in direct fire mode. The ATAGS has an all-electric drive, which is better than traditional hydraulic drives of other towed guns. The electric drives of the ATAGS allows better control while opening and closing of the breech mechanism and while ramming the next round into the firing chamber. The gun’s mobility, a crucial factor in high-altitude warfare, was favourable too. The Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister has already given the nod to purchase 150 ATAGS at a cost of 3364.68 crores. Meanwhile Dhanush (155mm/45 cal) has a range of 42 km and a weight of 12 tonnes. An initial lot 114 Dhanush guns are to be procured by Indian Army. The design of Dhanush is based on the Bofors Haubits FH77 which India acquired in the 1980s.
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