As India celebrates 75 years of Independence with the grand ‘Aazadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the country is looking forward to Prime Minister Narendra Modi hoisting the flag at Red Fort on August 15 as per tradition. However, this time, the world will see a change in the ceremony in a testament to India’s growing capacity and capabilities.
For the first time, a home-grown howitzer gun, Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) prototype, developed under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, will be used for the ceremonial 21-gun salute during the ceremony at Red Fort. The wholly indigenous gun, designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will give the ceremonial 21-Gun salute along with the British guns which were traditionally fired till now. The gun has been customised, with technical specifications being tweaked for the ceremony.
The ATAGS is a 155mm calibre gun system with a firing range of 48 kilometres and advanced features like high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, automatic command and control system with night capability in direct-fire mode. It’s a world-class system which fires the bi-modular charge system in Zone 7. No other gun in the world is known to have that capability yet.
“Normally, seven guns are used for 21 shots in the 21 gun salute. These are all iconic British guns. This time, we will use the indigenous Howitzer for one of the 21 shots,” said RP Pandey, Scientist G, at DRDO. “This specialised gun system is compatible with C4I systems like the Artillery Combat Command and Control System called Shakti for technical fire control, fire planning, deployment management, operational logistics management of the Indian Army,” he added.
The gun is manufactured by Bharat Forge and Tata Power SED. Under the project that was started in the year 2013 to replace older guns in service in the Indian Army, the DRDO has developed a total of 10 prototypes.
The gun has been deputed at the Red Fort premises for necessary drills and has been tried and tested before. For now, officers designated for the duty are excited for D-day.