In one of its biggest pushes to the Make in India initiative in the defence sector, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will consider a proposal worth over Rs 3,000 crore to buy more than 140 indigenously-developed Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) howitzers for the army which have been developed and manufactured by a joint venture of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and private sector companies Tata Power and Bharat Forge Limited.

The defence ministry will consider this proposal of buying more than 140 ATAGS howitzers along with close to 200 vehicles, which will be used for towing the guns as well as carrying their ammunition and other spare parts during operations by the Army at a high-level meeting planned to be held this week, government sources told MyNation

After the Bofors controversy ensured that no artillery guns were bought for more than three decades for the Army, the defence ministry, under the Modi regime has finalised supply of various guns including the acquisition of 100 Vajra self-propelled guns, M-777 howitzers from the US and Dhanush howitzers which are being provided by the Ordnance Factories Board. 

The 155 mm ATAGS guns have created a world record by firing at targets at a distance of 50 kilometres, which is much higher than the other systems of this class worldwide. The gun is believed to be two tonnes lighter than the other guns of the same category and scores higher than its rivals in terms of accuracy and rate of firing. 

The guns have also performed very well during high altitude trials in Sikkim and other places, the sources said.

Sources in the government said that the order for 140 guns is the initial order as the Army has a requirement of several hundreds of such guns which will replace the older systems in the force. 

The future guns would be provided with more capabilities as the stakeholders will continue to develop them further.