Yet another world record was set at Pokhran on Friday by the indigenously manufactured 155mm/52 calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), jointly designed and developed by the Pune based Kalyani group along with DRDO.
Many senior officers from DRDO and Army visited Pokhran to witness the firing. Officials present at the range said they witnessed a spectacular show during the trial firings at Pokhran Ranges, where the ATAGS variant developed by Kalyani Group, registered the longest ever distance of 48.074 kms, surpassing the maximum ranges of 35-40 kms fired by any artillery gun system in this category.
This surpasses all previous records as similar artillery gun systems currently operational in the world can fire a maximum range of 40-45 kilometres.
“A steady but arduous, technically challenging journey has seen many firsts in the development of this gun, culminating with achievement of range in excess of 48 KM with HE ERFB BB and 38.5 KM with HE ERFB BT ammunition (the long range high explosive-base bleed ammunition),” said a senior official who witnessed the trial firings at Pokhran range.
The ordnance including barrel and breech mechanism, on both variants of ATAGS, is developed at Kalyani Group Advanced Artillery Manufacturing Facility.
According to defence sources, the ATAGS trials being conducted at Pokharan ranges are targeted at various distances to validate firing capacity of zone 7 with 25 litres effective chamber volume and the guns are performing as per expectations.
A special feature of ATAGS, all electric drives for laying and ammunition handling system, in any artillery system is a first. It ensures better and more reliable performance compared with earlier less reliable hydraulic systems.
It may be noted here that this artillery gun project started in 2014 with the selection of Bharat Forge Ltd, a Kalyani Group company and TATA Power SED as two major Development Partners of DRDO-ARDE’s prestigious program. The two platforms which were tested earlier in PXE Balasore in Dec 2016 were publicly showcased at 68th Republic Day Parade on 26th January 2017.
The first proof firing of the armament was conducted in 2015 with maximum record chamber pressure of over 560MPa as P2 pressure.
The barrel and breech mechanism for ATAGS is developed by Bharat Forge with specially designed metallurgy to cater for zone 7 and comes under critical technology. Both firing platforms have the ordnance systems made by Bharat Forge Ltd., flagship company of Kalyani Group.
The way the project is unfolding the gun has come up well and continues to be one of the finest gun platforms in its class in the world. The aim of the ATAGS is to provide the Indian Army with domestic artillery platform that will surpass foreign designs.