For the first time, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be showcasing its indigenously developed Advanced Towed Artillery Gun (ATAG) system at the upcoming DefExpo 2018, a show sponsored by Indian ministry of defense, to be held in Chennai next month (April 11-14).
The new ATAG system, which has been under development and testing for four years, has already completed all trials and is expected to be inducted into the Indian Army in 2019. It is likely to grab the most attention at the defense expo as it is India's first howitzer artillery gun which is fully designed and developed indigenously. There are possibilities that the DRDO might get orders from international players attending the exhibition. Around 232 foreign companies from 32 countries have confirmed their participation for the DefExpo 2018, according to reports.
10 facts about the DRDO's first Made-in India ATAG system:
- The ATAG system is jointly developed by the DRDO's Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune along with Indian private companies -- Bharat Forge Limited (Kalyani Group) and Strategic Engineering Division (Tata Power).
- The 155mm/52-caliber ATAG systems houses a barrel, breech mechanism, muzzle brake, recoil mechanism, auxiliary power mode to fire ammunition with a firing range of up to 40 km
- DRDO's ATAG also comes equipped with an advanced communication system, automatic command, and control system with night firing capability.
- Though it has 30km-40km range, the DRDO's ATAG system High Explosive High Bleed (HE HB) variant holds the world record of shooting the target set at a distance of 48.074 km
- The new ATAG houses a six-round magazine, double the capacity of the current towing artillery guns, which by the way have a three-round magazine.
- The ATAG's can fire three rounds in 15 seconds in the 'burst mode', while in the 'intense mode', it can shoot 15 rounds in three minutes. In the 'sustained mode', it can fire 30 rounds in 60 minutes, almost two rounds per every two minute for one hour.
- In a bid to make the ATAG system reliable and durable with less maintenance over a long period of time, it has been configured with an all-electric drive with sensors
- With so many components, the ATAG system weighs 12000kg (12 ton). Though it is a bit heavy, it will have high mobility compared to others in the market, claims DRDO
- Testing of the ATAG is all completed and the first consignment numbering 40 units is being manufactured by the state-run Ordnance Factories Board (OFB)
- Over time, DRDO's ATAG system will replace all the outdated Bofors Haubits FH-77 series howitzers, which were brought in the 1980s for the Indian Army.
For those unaware, Indian Army is currently using the Dhanush howitzer. But, its design is actually based on the old Bofors Haubits FH-77 series. On the bright side, it will soon be upgraded from the current 155 mm/45-caliber to 155 mm/52-caliber and with this, its shooting range will extend to 42km.