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The Indian Army has sent a proposal for the purchase of 400 howitzers. It will cost Rs 6500 crore.
The Indian Army has sent a proposal to the Defense Ministry for the purchase of 400 howitzer guns. The howitzer cannon is completely indigenous. It has been developed by Defense Research and Development Organization i.e. DRDO.
A senior army officer told news agency ANI, the government will soon take a decision on the howitzer gun in a high level meeting.
This cannon is much lighter than the old cannons. Its range is 48 km. Also, it is capable of firing accurately in temperatures ranging from minus 30 to 75 degrees.
Howitzer is also called ATAGS i.e. Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System.
As is clear from its name Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System, it is a towed gun i.e. a cannon which is pulled by a truck. However, after firing this shell, it can go some distance on its own like Bofors. The caliber of this cannon is 155 mm. This means that 155 mm shells can be fired from this modern cannon.
ATAGS are also called howitzers. Howitzers means small guns. In fact, during the Second World War and beyond, very large and heavy cannons were used in warfare. There were many difficulties in carrying them over long distances and deploying them at high altitudes. In such a situation, light and small cannons were made, which were called howitzers.
Who has created ATAGS, why is it being called the indigenous Bofors?
This cannon has been developed by Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), a Pune-based lab of the Indian Defense Research and Organization (DRDO), Bharat Forge Limited, Mahindra Defense Naval System, Tata Power Strategic and Ordnance Factory Board.
Its development work started in 2013 and the first successful test was conducted on 14 July 2016. The use and characteristics of this cannon are very similar to the Bofors cannon, hence it is also called the native Bofors.
What are the specialties of this cannon?
The range of shells fired from this cannon is 48 km, whereas the same shell can be fired by the Bofors cannon up to a distance of 32 km. It is capable of firing shells to the longest distance in the world in the 155 mm category. This cannon can fire accurately at temperatures ranging from -30 degrees Celsius to 75 degrees Celsius.
5 shells can be fired every minute from its 26.44 feet long barrel. It also has a self-loading system like an automatic rifle. Thermal sight system is installed for aiming with this cannon. This means that targets can be hit with it even at night. The feature of wireless communication is present.
Army had reduced the weight of ATAGS, why?
In 2018, the Defense Acquisition Council had approved the purchase of 150 ATAGS guns at an estimated cost of Rs 3,365 crore. The Army required 1,580 artillery guns in this category. The Army had raised objections regarding the issue of the vehicle being overweight compared to its requirements. The Army wanted ATAGS to weigh about 18 tons, so that it could be transported in the mountains. This was later worked on and the army’s demand was fulfilled.
Apart from automatic mode firing and wireless communication, the ATAGS cannon is capable of covering the shortest minimum distance at high angles and performing well in desert and mountainous areas. ATAGS are designed to fire all types of ammunition with all electronic drives and fully automatic ammunition handling systems.
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