Indian howitzers to be ready for Army induction soon, CDS Rawat asks services to handhold local industry
At a time when the Indian Army is looking for over 400 towed artillery guns, it has emerged that the Made in India ATAGS howitzers, which are still being developed, would be the first option ready to be inducted in large numbers.
An Israeli gun in competition would take a much longer time to be produced. The DRDO-developed ATAGS howitzer is undergoing trials in Maharashtra and officials working on the project say they would be ready to offer around 200 guns to the Indian Army within 18 months.
According to reports, the Indian Army is looking at the option of the Israeli gun to be made in India that can happen only after a long contract negotiation process and establishment of production facilities which are not there at the moment.
“The ATAGS has been doing well and it has shown that it can fire at the longest range. The production facilities for the gun are complete and we can offer 200 guns for induction within 18-24 months of the order,” DRDO sources told India Today TV. The ATAGS had suffered an accident during trials while firing due to ammunition burst in September and is now again undergoing trials, the sources said.
Asked on the issue, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said, “Failures during trials will happen but these must not dampen the spirit, instead it must lead to timely reviews and encourage the manufacturers to seek ways to overcome the problems”.
He said the services also needs to prepare acceptable and desirable requirements and continue to support the development process for further enhancement of quality.
“Defence manufacturing in India by public and private sectors are on the cusp of transformation. Service officers with practical experience must be in integrated in the design and development processes,” Gen Rawat told India Today TV.
He said the Navy has set standards that have helped in indigenisation but more needs to be done. “Army and Air Force have gradually entered the fray. The success of indigenisation based on the call for Atmanirbhar Bharat necessitates hand holding by the services,” Genera Rawat has further said.
Howitzers are in the negative import list and they can be provided to the services only through the ‘Make in India’ route.
Having been starved for artillery guns for over 30 years after the Bofors scandal, the Indian Army has a plethora of choices as private players such as Bharat Forge, Tata and many other players like the Ordnance Factory Board have provided robust solutions to it.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has also made it clear that indigenous products would be given priority over imports and all efforts would be made to promote ‘Make in India’.
Source:- India Today