Indigenous heavy artillery gun accident report in 10 days

File photo of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat and other officers after witnessing the firing of ATAGS and MBT Arjun at the Pokhran Field Firing Range in Rajasthan in 2017.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Following a barrel burst of the indigenous heavy artillery gun, the Advanced Towed Array Gun System (ATAGS), during evaluation trials, a committee has been set up consisting of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists, Army representatives and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) officials to determine the cause and submit an evaluation report in 10 days, a defence official said.

“The ATAGS has already fired hundreds of rounds, including the gun which was involved in the accident during the development process,” the source stated. “The reason could be faulty ammunition, a metallurgy issue or a foreign object inside the barrel which will be determined by the committee.”

The ATAGS is a 155mm, 52 calibre gun jointly developed by the DRDO in partnership with Bharat Forge of Kalyani Group and Tata Power SED.

The trials began at the beginning of September in the Pokhran firing ranges in Rajasthan and two guns, built by Bharat Forge and Tata Power, were being evaluated when the accident occurred. The Defence Ministry had approved an in-principle purchase of 150 of these guns at an approximate cost of ₹3,365 crore, which would be split between the two companies.

Faulty ammunition

In the past, both the indigenously upgraded Dhanush artillery gun and the M777 Ultra-Light Howitzer from the U.S. suffered barrel burst during trials, which was due to faulty ammunition, it was determined later.

The gun has several significant features, including an all-electric drive, high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communications system and an automated command and control system. It also sports a six-round magazine instead of the standard three-round. This necessitates a larger chamber and is a major factor pushing up the overall weight of the system.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 4:38:09 AM |

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