Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)
The Indian Army has proposed the acquisition of an indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) to fill critical capability gaps in high altitude regions. This proposal is expected to be approved by the Ministry of Defence, after which orders can be placed for 310 towed guns. The ATAGS has been designed by the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to replace the current 155 mm artillery system in service, the Bofors towed guns. The ATAGS has undergone extensive testing by the army in various terrains and has been declared fit for induction. Its acquisition could significantly enhance the Indian Army’s capabilities.
Artillery plays a crucial role in modern warfare. India, with its vast borders and varied terrains, requires a robust artillery system to defend itself. The Bofors 155mm howitzer has been the backbone of the Indian Army’s artillery for many years. However, the Bofors guns are outdated and are not suitable for deployment in high altitude regions like Ladakh and the Siachen glacier. The Indian Army’s recent clashes with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley highlighted the need for a modern artillery system that could operate in such inhospitable terrains.
Design and Features
The ATAGS has been designed by DRDO’s Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in collaboration with private sector companies Bharat Forge and Tata Power SED. The gun is made of high-grade steel and has a modular design, which allows it to be easily transported by air or road. The ATAGS has a range of 48 km, which is more than the current Bofors guns. It can fire both conventional and nuclear-capable ammunition. The gun’s automated loading system allows it to fire at a rate of 6-8 rounds per minute, which is twice the rate of fire of the Bofors guns. The ATAGS has also been designed to be highly accurate, with a circular error probable (CEP) of less than 10 meters.
The ATAGS has undergone extensive testing by the Indian Army’s artillery units in various terrains, including the high altitude regions of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. The gun has successfully cleared all user trials and has been declared fit for induction. The gun’s performance has impressed the army, with its range and accuracy being particularly noteworthy. The ATAGS has also been tested with various types of ammunition, including high-explosive, incendiary, and smoke rounds. The gun has performed well with all types of ammunition, demonstrating its versatility.
The acquisition of the ATAGS would provide significant benefits to the Indian Army. The gun’s longer range and higher rate of fire would provide the army with a significant advantage over its adversaries. The gun’s ability to operate in high altitude regions would also be a significant advantage, as these regions are increasingly becoming a focal point of India’s defence strategy. The ATAGS is also expected to be more cost-effective than imported artillery systems, as it is being developed indigenously.