Dhanush 155 mm/ 45-calibre artillery gun during live demonstration at DefExpo near Chennai

CHENNAI: The advanced towed artillery gun, which can fire at a target 48km away, will be handed over to the Army for user trials within four months, said Baba Kalyani, chairman of the Kalyani Group. 

The group, which has been manufacturing defence equipment, developed the ATAG along with the DRDO’s armament research and development establishment and other private companies. At DefExpo 2018, the company has showcased several of its products including artillery guns, ordnance components and ultra-light howitzers. “A new artillery gun has been developed after almost three decades. Army has not got a gun since 1984,” he said.

The gun, which underwent summer trials at Pokhran and winter trials in Sikkim, would soon undergo accuracy and consistency trials before it is given to the Army for user trials; he said.

In comparison with its predecessors, this gun can generate a high velocity for the projectile that lets it hit a target at a distance of 48 km; he said. “A normal gun of 155 mm/52 calibre has a range of 40km. Our gun has fired consistently at targets 48 km away. It is a big advantage in the battle field environment.”

Baba Kalyani said the howitzer, designed and developed by the group, was at least 10 tonnes lighter than the existing guns. “It comes in two variants- the conventional recoil and hybrid recoil. It weighs only 5.5 tonnes as compared to the existing ones that weigh 16.5 tonnes,” he said.

While the company is manufacturing and exporting ammunition and certain spares, Kalyani said exporting defence systems was difficult without meeting the domestic requirements where it had shown good performance.

At a time when India is pushing for exports, the group chairman said it was a ‘sad state of affairs’ when it came to the defence industry in the country. “Compared to a small country like Israel, which has the most sophisticated defence technology, it is very low,” he said.