Cabinet committee to shortly finalise major artillery deal

The acquisition of these big guns is part of the country's $250 billion push to modernize the armed forces and overcome a 30-year gap in its firepower procurement program to counter potential threats from Pakistan and China.

Cabinet committee to shortly finalise major artillery deal

The Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS) may shortly take a call on a $660 million deal for purchasing about 100 pieces of mobile heavy artillery weapons, or howitzers, to be produced by Larsen & Toubro in partnership with South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin.

It will be the third major gun purchase in the last one one year. After approval in July last year, Ordnance Factory Board has delivered six locally-made 155-mm 45-caliber ‘Dhanush’ guns. In November, a government-to-government $737-million deal was signed with the U.S. for buying 145 155-mm 42-caliber ultra light M777 howitzer guns.


The acquisition of these big guns is part of the country's $250 billion push to modernize the armed forces and overcome a 30-year gap in its firepower procurement program to counter potential threats from Pakistan and China.

Said an artillery commander "Artillery modernization has been long overdue. Not a single artillery gun had been procured for 30 years now - since the Bofors scandal broke out in the late eighties. We need at least 5,000 pieces of modern artillery guns."

It's learnt that the country has successfully conducted the engineering trials of the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) from December 13
-20 at the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) ranges in Balasore, Odisha. It is the advanced version of towed artillery Dhanush that is already being inducted into the Indian Army.

ATAGS is potentially the DRDO’s biggest indigenous project. It aims at meeting the army’s need for more than 2,000 towed artillery pieces in the coming decade and will trigger indigenous manufacturing worth over Rs 30,000 crore, besides creating large-scale employment.

Conceived and designed by the DRDO’s Armament R&D Establishment, Pune (ARDE), the gun is mostly built by two private firms. The lion’s share has been won by Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division), which has built one prototype. The Kalyani Group has built a second prototype.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is said to be so happy with successful engineering trial results that he has directed that the prototypes of the gun be displayed at the 2017 Republic Day Parade.