New Delhi (Sputnik) — India’s locally manufactured advanced towed artillery gun system (ATAGS) has created a record in ammunition firing during a user trial conducted at Pokhran in the western state of Rajasthan. The 155-millimeter 52-calibre howitzer fired three shells out to a record distance of approximately 47.2 kilometers in comparison to 40-45 kilometer by other such systems currently operational in the world.
Defense sources told Sputnik that this is, perhaps, the longest distance covered by an artillery gun system. “The system fired three shells at more than 47 kilometers using special, long-range ammunition called high explosive base bleed in Pokhran,” defense sources told to Sputnik.
The Indian Army had procured Swedish Bofors in 1990’s — a deal that triggered a huge controversy involving political big-wigs accused of receiving kickbacks from the supplier. Purchase of howitzers was put on hold since then until earlier this year when the Indian Army received the first tranche of American ultra light howitzer M-777.
The delay of almost thirty years posed a major road block to the Indian Army’s field artillery rationalization plan (FARP). According to the plan, Indian Army needs over one thousand five hundred 155 mm 52 caliber towed howitzer and eight hundred and fourteen mounted gun system of the same caliber. A lone contract for hundred K-9 Vajra tracked self-propelled artillery gun has been awarded to private firm Larsen and Toubro which has collaborated with South Korean Samsung Techwin for the contract.