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DRDO takes pride in ATAGS, to be showcased at R-Day parade

| Updated: Jan 25, 2017 02:45 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 24 (ANI): The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has always been under the scanner for not indigenously building artillery guns and looking to import essential parts from other countries. But the DRDO has this time gone ahead and in collaboration with private firms built the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), a 155-mm, 52-calibre towed artillery gun. The ATAGS will be showcased at this year's Republic Day parade on January 26. Hailing the development, Praveen Kumar Mehta, Director General - Armaments and Combat Engineering Systems, DRDO, said they take pride in manufacturing guns in India and always strive to meet the international standards. "We take pride to do things in the country and even if it's not at par with the international standards, we still strive to make it the best. Hence, this gun is a very good example of how the DRDO and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), along with the industry, can come out with a system within the country and compete with the best in the world. In fact, we look forward to the export of such systems in the time to come," he said. He added, "This gun is an example that you can build the best guns in the country with the best possible specifications that can match the specifications of any contemporary gun in this class built in other countries." Mehta enlisted the parameters where the ATAGS scores above all its competitors from other countries. He said, "Every gun is different in its class. In its class, it has got the maximum range. It has developed the highest pressure in the chamber. The range has been tested for 45 km and is the greatest amongst all guns in this category." "A gun is identified by its calibre. Bofors was a 39-calibre gun; 'Dhanush', which is an improved version of Bofors, is a 42-calibre gun. ATAGS is a 55-km calibre gun - the maximum calibre," he added. Mehta also commented on the firing range of the ATAGS and said it's the maximum if compared with others. "The Rate of Firing (RoF) is 30 rounds within 60 minutes, which is again at par with the best in the world," he said. Clarifying that the DRDO manufactures its own guns wherever possible, Mehta said, "As far as certain areas are concerned where we didn't have other options, we built those things in the country. The DRDO has built them. In areas where systems could be imported from outside, we have done that too." "We require a lot of guns of this type, along with 'Dhanush' and Bofors guns. Every gun serves a specific purpose and accordingly, each gun is used in varying numbers. And this gun will, in the time to come, prove to be great for the nation," he added. Mehta also explained that though the gun is towed, it can still move on its own within short distances. He said, "It's a towed gun, but has got a self-mobility also. So, in a limited area, it can move by itself and in a larger space, it will have to be towed with a vehicle in front of it." "Also, it is air-transportable but that is yet to be tried," he added. The benefits that come with being indigenous are that any modifications required, if need be, can be carried out in India only. "It's designed and developed in India only. So, if there arises a need to amend its design or repair it, it can be done in the country only," Mehta said. He added, "We have built these guns in collaboration with two companies - Tata Power ACD and Bharat Force. The first prototype has been built and a full-proof testing has also taken place. Now, we are in the process of developing an additional prototype which will be fielded for the user trial in a very short time." Amit Bhatiwala from Armament Research and Development Establishment, Pune, who has been working as Scientist D at the DRDO, said that the calibre of the ATAGS should not be increased any further as it might increase the gun's weight and affect its efficiency. "It's a 52-calibre gun, which should not be increased any further. Otherwise, the weight might increase affecting the efficiency of the gun," he said. Bhatiwala was all praises for the indigenous gun and said it is the most contemporaneous gun in the world right now. "We were given this project in the year 2012 and we were able to start the manufacture and design by 2014. The most difficult part under this was designing the specification. We wanted the gun to be at par with the guns of other countries or may be superior. And that we have accomplished. We have built the gun in such a way that this is the most contemporaneous gun in the world right now. All the parameters are either at par or superior if compared with those of other countries," he added. Another indigenous gun that will be showcased at the parade this year is the long-range artillery gun 'Dhanush'. Developed by OFB and manufactured by Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), the 155-mm desi howitzer is a significantly improved version of Bofors 39-calibre field gun. Indigenously designed Medium Power Radar System 'Arudhra' will also make its debut at the R-Day parade. Arudhra has been developed by Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), Bengaluru, a wing of DRDO. Stating that it one of the best radar systems manufactured, LRDE scientist Manoharan told ANI, "Arudhra is a ground-based radar mounted on a mobile platform. It can be transported by road, rail or air. It has an antenna at the top which works on a new technology that's introduced in India. In this, you can shift the beam. Earlier, beam movement was not possible. Its instrumental range is 400 km and has 360 degree coverage. It can cover 800 km area and 30 km height. It can detect 150 targets simultaneously." He added, "It can even tell you whether the target is a friendly target or enemy target. In its capability, this is one of the best radar systems made." Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates will be the guest of honour at this year's R-Day parade. (ANI)