This I-Day, howitzer developed by DRDO to be a part of 21-gun salute

IN A first, the signature 21-gun salute during the Independence Day ceremony at the Red Fort this year will include the indigenous howitzer gun, ATAGS — developed by the DRDO facility in Pune — alongside the traditional British artillery guns.

Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) is a home-grown 155 mm x 52 calibre howitzer gun developed by the Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Every year, the unfurling of the Tricolour by the Prime Minister is followed by a rendition of the national anthem which synchronises with the 21-gun salute fired by a ceremonial battery from an artillery regiment.

Over the years, this gun salute — which are blanks — is fired by the War era howitzers of British make, known as ‘Ordnance Quick Fire 25 Pounder’ or just 25 Pounder. From the battery of eight guns that is generally deployed for the salute, seven fire three rounds each. This year, some ATAGS guns will be part of the battery that will fire along with some 25 pounders.

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ARDE Director Ankhati Raju said, “It is a proud moment for me and the entire ARDE community that ATAGS will be giving salute to the nation during the 75th year of Independence. It is indeed a great achievement for ARDE and DRDO that for the first time an indigenously developed gun will be shouldering the responsibility of firing alongside the 25 pounder British Guns.”

Some practice firing sessions of the ATAGS have already been held in the run up to the Independence Day celebrations.

ATAGS is a fully indigenous towed artillery gun system project undertaken in mission mode by DRDO as a part of artillery modernisation programme of the Indian Army. System has a firing range of 48 km and has features like fast deployability, high mobility, auxiliary power mode, automatic command and control system, state-of-the-art communication system and night capability in direct-fire mode.

The ATAGS project was started in 2013 by DRDO to replace older guns in service in the Army with a modern 155 mm artillery gun. The ARDE has collaborated with Bharat Forge Limited and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd for the manufacturing of this specialised gun. The system has undergone various levels of trials in different conditions and is currently undergoing an evaluation by the Directorate General Quality Assurance, a nodal agency for the quality assurance of all arms, ammunitions, equipment and stores supplied to Armed Forces.

The ARDE, which is part of the Armament and Combat Engineering (ACE) cluster of the DRDO, is tasked with research, design and development of conventional armaments for Armed forces. ARDE has expertise in small arms, artillery guns, rocket systems, air-delivered munitions and warheads.


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