The process of the final approval followed by a formal ordering process for the indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) is expected to gather steam in the coming months, according to Bharat Forge, one of the two gun manufacturers for the Indian Army.
The Pune-based auto parts maker is ready to supply 100 ATAGS in the first year before doubling its capacity at later stages, said a senior executive of Bharat Forge to analysts. Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) is the other manufacturing entity in this venture. ATAGS are a part of the list of weapons which are banned from imports. This was done to boost local manufacturing of such critical defence goods.
Amit Kalyani, Deputy Managing Director, Bharat Forge said, “We expect that this whole ordering process to pick up steam and hopefully get completed in this financial year. On capacity, I think in our first year, we will have a capacity of about 100 guns. And after that, we will have an increase in our capacity to 200 a year.”
Towards the end of April, the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) completed the firing trials of the ATAGS at Pokhran, Rajasthan. Last year the guns completed their high-altitude trials.
The towed artillery gun (155mm x 52 Calibre) has a firing range of more than 48 km, making it one of the best in the world. Each of these guns, will become the mainstay of the Indian Army, is expected to cost ₹15-22 crore. While the initial order will be for 150 guns, the ensuing orders of nearly 1,600, represents a business opportunity of around ₹24,000 crore – ₹35,000 crore.
“The investment made by us so far has been about ₹250 crore. But this is only the investment for the gun making; the machining, forging, heat treatment, steel making, all that was already in place. So, we’re leveraging the group capabilities,” Kalyani added.