The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Saturday conducted another round of trials for ATAGS (Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System) Howitzer guns at the Balasore test-firing range in Odisha.
A top DRDO scientist said the ATAGS howitzer was the best gun in the world with the capability to strike targets at the longest range of 48 kilometers. The indigenous gun can meet Indian Army's full requirement of 1800 artillery guns systems and there was no need for imports in this field, he said.
ATAGS Howitzer guns: All you need to know
The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) has been developed by the DRDO and produced by two firms Bharat Forge and Tata Advanced Systems Limited.
ATAGS has already fired over 2,000 rounds during the field trials in places like Sikkim near the China border and Pokharan near the Pakistan border.
ATAGS project director and senior Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist Shailendra V Gade said the gun system is far better than the legendary Bofors in the Indian Army along with any other artillery gun in the world including the ATHOS gun offered by Israel.
Explaining the edge which the Indian Army would get to vet adversaries like China in a war scenario, Gade said the DRDO-developed gun is the longest firing howitzer in the world with 48 km and this will help it to be safe during a strike against the enemy.
"The enemy won't be able to counter you as they would not be able to reach you but you can reach them at 48 kilometers. You can be eight kilometers behind their strike range but still hit them," he said.
Asked if the ATAGS was better than the guns available with China and Pakistan, Gade said, "in fact, this is the best gun in the world because no other country has been able to such a system built on this high-technology with a high rate of firing capability."
Comparing the advancement of the ATAGS over the legendary Bofors and the other guns in the world, Gade said the ATAGs can fire five rounds in a minute whereas the others can fire only three.
"The range is also very high at 48 kilometers whereas the Bofors can fire at 32kms using the same type of round. The mobility is also very high. The gun will be very reliable, maintenance-free and robust," he said.
The Indian Army is looking at the acquisition of around 1600 artillery guns and was looking at Israeli guns ATHOS as an option for quick induction of 400 pieces.
"The Indian Army's requirement is for 1580 towed artillery guns and apart from that, they need 150 ATAGS and another 114 Dhanush guns. So, there is a requirement of a total of 1,800 guns. The way the ATAGS is performing and come up, I am sure that this entire requirement of 1,800 guns can be met by this gun only," Gade told ANI.
On being asked to compare the ATAGS with the ATHOS and French Nexter guns, Gade said, "If you look at the qualitative requirements of the ATHOS and Nexter guns, the requirements of the ATAGS are very stringent. So, definitely, the guns systems are not very contemporary. If we look at the future as 2027-2030, the ATAGS is the answer for those times for the Indian Army."
On being asked whether there was a need for India to import any howitzer from abroad in view of the presence of howitzer, Gade said, "not at all. I feel India as a country, we have developed the core competence and technology is there to meet the country's requirements for world-class guns."
(With ANI inputs)