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Context: The indigenous howitzer was used in Independence Day 21-gun salute. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also referred to the gun while speaking about the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative of the Centre during his Independence Day speech.
- The ATAGS is an indigenous 155 mm x 52 calibre howitzer gun developed by the DRDO with its Pune-based facility Armament Research and Development Establishment being the nodal agency.
- Developed by the DRDO, the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) was used alongside the traditional British-origin ’25 Pounders’ artillery guns.
- When the National Anthem is played by the Military Band after the unfurling of the Tricolour at the Red Fort by the Prime Minister, a 21-volley gun salute is fired by a ceremonial battery from an artillery regiment.
- Howitzers is an umbrella term for a category of long-range artillery guns.
- The ATAGS project was started in 2013 by DRDO to replace older guns in service in the Indian Army with a modern 155 mm artillery gun.
- In August and September 2017, a record target range of around 48 km was achieved at Pokhran Field Firing Range.
- The system has subsequently undergone various levels of trials in different weather and terrain conditions.
- The armament system of ATAGS mainly comprises barrel, breech mechanism, muzzle brake and recoil mechanism to fire 155 mm calibre ammunition held by Army with a longer range, accuracy and precision and provides greater firepower.
- The ATAGS is configured with all electric drive to ensure maintenance free and reliable operation over a longer period of time.
- It has advanced features in terms of high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, automatic command and control system with night firing capability in the direct fire mode.
- The specialised gun system is compatible with C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) systems like the Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS) called Shakti for technical fire control, fire planning, deployment management, and operational logistics management of the Army.
- The development process of ATAGS by the DRDO coincides with development of Howitzer Dhanushfor Advanced Weapons and Equipment India of the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board.