The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) project was started in 2013 by DRDO to replace older guns in service in the Indian Army with a modern 155mm artillery gun. Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) partnered with Kalyani Group, Tata Power and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for the ATAGS project.
The development of the ATAGS gun took about 4 years and was expected to be completed by March 2017. The delay in completion of the project was attributed to realisation of ordnance and recoil system and supply issue with manufacturing of sub-systems.
It was first publicly showcased at 68th Republic Day parade on 26 January 2017. In August 2018, the Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of 150 ATAGS with an estimated cost of ₹3,364.78 crore (US$490 million).
ATAGS is India’s first indigenously built gun system with automated ammunition handling facility. It is expected to be inducted in soon the Army. The 155 mm and 52 calibre howitzer is the world’s longest-range gun system in its class.
Union Secretary of Defence R&D Department G Satheesh Reddy said “the gun has cleared all developmental tests successfully and will be inducted in the Armed Forces after a couple of more trials.”
In a conference at Chandipur, Balasore on the 125th anniversary of Proof and Experimental Establishment, Reddy said, “ATAGS is the pride of the nation. The gun has now the world’s longest-range in 155 mm class. PXE has the distinction of testing the gun and making it certified. The Armed Forces have already given their consent for induction of a number of such guns.”
The complex gun system that weighs around 18 tonne with an elevation up to 70 degrees has undergone developmental trials at Balasore, Pokhran and Sikkim. While the ballistic internal trial and proofing were done at PXE and strength and design were validated during summer trials at Pokhran, winter trails were conducted in Sikkim.
During trials in 2017, ATAGS broke the world record for 155 mm gun by firing the round to a distance of 47.2 kilometers.
Reddy, who is also the Chairman of DRDO, urged the scientists working with the PXE and Integrated Test Range (ITR) to come up with modern technologies, equipment and infrastructure to ensure that the test range is one the most modern ranges in the world.