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The Indian Army is poised to significantly enhance its artillery capabilities with the acquisition of 307 advanced towed artillery gun systems (ATAGS), in a move that reflects India’s commitment to modernizing its armed forces. This procurement, valued at over Rs 8,000 crore, underscores the Indian Army’s dedication to strengthening its arsenal with state-of-the-art artillery systems.

The proposal for this substantial acquisition has been initiated by the Indian Army and is in the final stages of approval. The order is set to be divided between two private Indian firms, Tata and Bharat Forge, both of which have demonstrated their expertise in developing variants of the ATAGS based on technological know-how shared by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Notably, the ATAGS variants from Tata and Bharat Forge exhibit several differences, including variations in the engine housing, layer station, castor wheel, MVR & AGAPS, and ball screw actuators. These differences reflect each company’s unique approach to the design and development of the ATAGS.

The winning company will be responsible for the production of 60 per cent of the 307 ordered units, equivalent to approximately 184 units. The second firm will manufacture the remaining 40 per cent of the howitzers, based on the design of the first company. Importantly, the second firm will need to match the price set by the winning company, ensuring cost competitiveness in the production process.

Extensive trials of both ATAGS variants have been conducted at the Pokhran Field Firing Range (PFFR) and the high-altitude test range in Sikkim, confirming their performance under various operational conditions. These trials have served as a crucial evaluation phase to ascertain the reliability and effectiveness of the artillery systems.

A noteworthy aspect is the prior success of Bharat Forge in securing an order for ATAGS from Armenia, demonstrating its competence and competitive pricing. This experience positions Bharat Forge as a strong contender in the Indian Army’s procurement process.

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