NEW DELHI -- India's first indigenous, long-range artillery gun 'Dhanush' will be showcased for the first time in the Republic Day Parade on January 26.
Developed by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and manufactured by Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), the 155-mm desi howitzer is a significantly improved version of Bofors 39-calibre field gun.
Said to be comparable with the weapon systems used by different countries, Dhanush possesses a strike range of 38 km. The howitzers have cleared the Army's tests and are the first to be acquired by them since the Bofors scandal in the 1980s. An initial order for 114 guns has been placed. A total of 414 guns may, however, be ordered later.
Commenting on the development, Defence Expert Lieutenant General (Retd) VK Chaturvedi told ANI, "It's an achievement we are producing these howitzers. Not many countries are doing it."
Another indigenous gun that will be showcased at the parade this year is the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), a 155-mm, 52-calibre towed artillery gun, developed by the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with private firms.
Another defence expert Brigadier (Retd) SK Chatterji praised the DRDO's effort in building the artillery gun.
"The DRDO has done extremely well in the last few years. Currently, we are using 155-mm Bofors guns. These have become old. We need at least 2,000 155-mm artillery guns in next 10 years," he said.
Ravi Kumar Gupta, former scientist and Director Public Interface, DRDO, hailed the ATAGS' evaluation as a weapon system and quipped it is a quantum jump in terms of India's capability in ab initio design and development of advanced artillery systems.
He said, "Unlike Dhanush, ATAG has been designed from scratch keeping in view the present and future tactical battlefield requirements. It incorporates a number of superior features besides a longer, high-capacity gun barrel for increased range, accuracy and barrel life. ATAGS boasts of an advanced Recoil System for compactness, an all electric Servo drive for reliable and maintenance free operation and Inertial Land Navigation System for accurate positioning of Gun."
"ATAGS' Auto Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) capability is a unique feature allowing user to deliver a shocking and devastating attack on enemy. Future ready, the Gun is also capable of firing precision guided munitions (PGMs). Private industries of the country have participated significantly in development of ATAG and its manufacture in large numbers will be a boost to both, Army's much needed fire power and indigenous manufacturing capabilities," he added.
The army, reportedly, needs a huge number of howitzers and artillery guns of different types, and Indian firms, with the aid of foreign manufacturers, are toiling hard to meet the targets and deadlines.
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