ATAGS: The DRDO works tirelessly to improve the defence capabilities of the Indian armed forces. The biggest threat to India is from the borders of Pakistan and China. In parts of China, there are continuous attempts to change the status quo. And Pakistan’s activity has always been notorious on the borders. In line with that, it becomes crucial for India to formulate policies and boost its military strength accordingly. While the policies are intact, the defence capabilities are also on the rise with indigenous manufacturing.
Indian Army to get ATAGS
In a recent development, the Indian Army has proposed to acquire 310 indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems (ATAGS). ATAGS can be deployed in high-altitude areas and fill critical capability gaps. The Defense Ministry will take a final call on the clearance of the proposal to acquire 310 such towed guns, following which orders can be placed, people aware of the development said.
The collaboration between the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Kalyani Group, and Tata Advanced Systems Limited has resulted in the creation of ATAGS. This locally manufactured gun is well-suited for use in high-altitude regions located along India’s border with Tibet, where the Indian Army is currently engaged in a tense standoff with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
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One of the key features of the ATAGS is its impressive range capabilities, thanks to its Extended Range Sub-Bore Boat-Tail (ERFB BT) ammunition, which can hit targets up to 35 km away. Moreover, its ERFB BB (base bleed) ammunition can strike targets at a range of approximately 45 km. In 2017, the gun was successfully tested at a remarkable range of 47 km.
Given the ongoing border crisis in Ladakh with China, the ATAGS’ ability to perform well at high altitudes is a crucial element of its design. To ensure its suitability for use in these challenging conditions, the Indian Army has conducted various tests, such as sustained firing drills using only the backup battery at elevations over 13,000 feet and evaluating the gun’s performance in extremely cold temperatures.
Compared to the NATO standard of a 23-litre chamber, the ATAGS is designed with a larger 25-litre chamber, providing it with a slightly extended range of 48 km.
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Gone through tough testing
The Army has subjected the gun to rigorous testing across different terrains, including the desert in Rajasthan and high-altitude ranges in Sikkim. The tests encompassed direct fire during both day and night on tank-sized targets, sustained firing of 60 rounds per hour, as well as tests for five-round bursts and a rapid rate of firing.
High-altitude trials of the gun in January 2018 at the 12,000-foot-high Menla Firing Range in Sikkim were successful. After the procurement, it is going to be deployed in the Ladakh sector, with a possible deployment in Arunachal Pradesh. Moreover, it can prove effective at the borders of Pakistan. So, the ATAGS is the worst nightmare for Pakistan and China.
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