Source : IgMp Bureau
|Representative Image [The Caesar truck-mounted artillery system is a 155mm 52-calibre self-propelled gun developed by Nexter Systems (formerly Giat)]|
Today we will discuss about the Truck Mounted Howitzer system for the Indian Army.
Recently Vehicle Research Development Establishment (VRDE) has initiated a new project under which a composite cabin will be developed and this will be developed for Mounted Gun System. The design which has been released in Statement of Work, resembles the truck design of Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML).
|Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) 8×8 High Mobility Vehicle|
If we discuss about these trucks, this will be a High Mobility 8×8 Vehicle and will come with Armoured Driving Cabin which can be operated at every terrain and every type of weather condition, these trucks will move easily from one place to another and they will be blast and bullet proof.
But the main point is the utility of these trucks, as they are being built mainly for Mounted Gun System and if we discuss about DRDO’s howitzers program then they have only howitzer program that is 155×52 calibre ATAGS (Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System). Although India is developing many other howitzers too like erstwhile OFB designed Dhanush and Bharat Forge Kalyani Group designed Bharat-52.
|Bharat Forge Kalyani Group designed 155mm x 39 calibre Mounted Gun System|
But here we are discussing about DRDO’s ATAGS. But many people will say that the Indian Army has delayed the induction of ATAGS as they are carrying out one after another trials and tests of different kinds at different conditions and altitudes. In this way Indian Army will require a long time to induct the towed version of ATAGS into its arsenal, and if the towed version hasn’t been inducted yet then why work on this new Mounted Gun System has been initiated ?
|DRDO developed Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)|
Look, when ATAGS went for testing for the first time under the Indian Army’s supervision in different altitudes and weather, Indian Army asked for some changes in the design after inspecting its performances, and the changes that have been made will require time to come on the system and the system will be re-tested at those same areas or altitudes where it was tested earlier to validate the changes carried out on the base design. So all these things requires time.
You all know that the Ministry of Defence has recently put 155mm x 52 calibre gun system on the list of Negative imports that means Indian Army can not acquire these guns from abroad. And whenever we have listened from the Indian Army about ATAGS, they have always portrayed it in the positive, and as far as Israeli competitor ATHOS is concerned, Indian Army never mentions anything about this gun. Only a specific section of Media says that ATHOS has a chance in Indian Army 155mm guns order. But we want to assure you that 155mm x 52 calibre guns are on Negative list of imports and that’s why no such guns will be acquired from abroad.
And as far as the induction of ATAGS is concerned, whenever the Indian Army completes all the testing of ATAGS successfully and the time MoD allocates funds for ATAGS acquisition, this gun will be inducted immediately then.
If we talk about the requirements of the Indian Army, under the ‘Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan’ there are a requirement of 3,000-3,600 Artillery guns, of which 1,500 will be towed artillery pieces like ATAGS, 814 Truck Mounted Howitzers like Kalyani TC-20 or Israeli ATMOS, 180 Self Propelled Wheeled Howitzers based on platforms like TATA Kestrel, 100 Self Propelled Howitzers like Indian Army K9 Vajra and 145 Ultra Light Howitzers while adding 214 Dhanush howitzers to this list, this number well passes 3,000 mark.
|OFB developed Dhanush 155mm Mounted Gun System|
And after Towed artillery guns, the largest number of guns Indian Army will induct are the Mounted Gun Systems, and for this particular segment the required modifications are being carried out on ATAGS and by the way Indian Army has already released an RFI in April 2021 while OFB had already developed a Mounted Gun variant of Dhanush in 2018 and shown it in Defence Expo. If the competition between Indian firms are being carried out for a suitable Mounted Gun system then it will be a good news for Indian Army and for Indian Defence Industry.
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