Updated: Mon, 15 Aug 2022 03:18 PM IST
After 75 years of independence, it was for the first time when a made-in-India howitzer was used for the ceremonial 21-shot salute to the tricolour at the Red Fort on Independence Day. The Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was used as a part of 21-gun salute on the 76th Independence Day.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also mentioned about the howitzer while addressing the nation and spoke about the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative of the Centre during his Independence Day speech.
"Today, for the first time in 75 years since Independence, a Made-in-India artillery gun was used in the 21-gun salute that is given to the tricolour. All Indians will be inspired and empowered by this sound. And that is why, today, I want to thank our Armed forces for carrying the responsibility of Atmanirbharta on their shoulders in an organized manner," PM Modi said.
"For how long would we be dependent on the other countries? Aatmanirbhar Bharat is the responsibility of every section of society, every person and every government. Aatmanirbhar Bharat is not a government agenda or a government programme. It is a social movement which we have to carry forward," he added.
As per the details shared by the DRDO, ATAGS is an indigenous 155 mm x 52 calibre howitzer gun. It was developed by DRDO's Pune-based facility Armament Research and Development Establishment.
It is configured with an all-electric drive to ensure maintenance-free and reliable operation over a longer period of time. It will have a firing range of 40 kilometres with advanced features in terms of high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, automatic command, and control system with night firing capability in direct fire mode.
The gun was first publicly showcased at the 68th Republic Day parade on 26 January 2017.
Development of the ATAGS:
The project was first initiated in 2013 by DRDO in order to replace older guns in service in the Indian Army with a modern 155 mm artillery gun. After conducting several tests in the initial phases of the development, a record target range of around 48 km was achieved at Pokhran Field Firing Range in August and September 2017.
The system is currently undergoing evaluation by the Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) touching its final stage before the Army starts placing orders for it.