DRDO ATAGS which is short form for Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System is a 155mm/52 cal artillery gun system which has been developed by DRDO.
Often it is confused with Dhanush howitzer which is another artillery gun made by DRDO, I have already written a post about Dhanush howitzer and the link to the post is below
"DHANUSH HOWITZER - EMPOWERING INDIAN ARTILLERY" (link)
DRDO ATAGS is bigger caliber than the Dhanush howitzer which is 155mm/45 cal artillery gun while ATAGS is 155mm/52 cal, it weighs more than Dhanush and its reported weight is 12000 kgs which is about 2000 kgs more than that of Dhanush gun. Often ATAGS is also called Dhanush V.2 or version two.
The bigger caliber gives the gun a longer range as compared to Dhanush, while Dhanush howitzer is able to fire shells upto a distance of 38 kms the newer ATAGS boasts an increased range and can fire shells effectively to distance of 42 kms and maximum upto 45 kms. Also ATAGS is not just an artillery gun but an entire gun system which incorporates advanced communication system and advanced control system and is capable of operating effectively in all weather and day night conditions. It can be operated by a minimum crew of 6 people.
The ATAGS project was done in short time too as the project was started in 2013 and by 2016 the DRDO was doing development trials with the gun. Though the complete development of gun took 4 years and now in 2017 the gun has been handed to army for user trials.The gun was also showcased in Republic day parade this year.
On 28 Aug 2017 the army started the trials of ATAGS in the Pokhran firing field, Rajasthan. The trials will continue for many more months where a firing table will be developed for gun in various ranges and conditions.
The gun will be tested in various other ranges too and in varying conditions to ensure that it meets the standards of deployment & reliability. The testing will continue for many more months to come and the production of ATAGS if things go as planned will start by 2019.
Currently India faces a shortage of modern artillery guns as for 30 years we did not induct any 155 mm artillery gun (we did induct ofb made smaller cal field guns). The Dhanush is in final stage of trials and except for a minor incident it has cleared all trials by successfully 37000 artillery rounds. The minor incident of shell hitting muzzle brake can be easily dealt with by minor design changes and work is being done on it.
Hopefully the trials will go as planned and we will see the mass production of Dhanush by year end and ATAGS will also clear the trials. With these two Desi Howitzers in the funnel our forces will not require importing expensive foreign howitzers.
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