- Bharat Forge's defence unit, Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd (KSSL), is working with DRDO on a whole spectrum of field artillery for the Army, including the Bharat 52/45, Garuda 105, and ATAGS.
- Until the Kargil Fight, when we awoke with sleeping Bofors only to discover that the never-ending war over the freezing mountain had run out of ammunition. It was apparent that no amount of "strategic thought" would be useful if we didn't have the ability to manufacture our own weapons.
Baba Kalyani, Bharat Forge’s CMD, wants to make Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd (KSSL) a world-class Indian OEM in the defence and aerospace industries. Bharat Forge’s defence unit, Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd (KSSL), is working with DRDO on a whole spectrum of field artillery for the Army, including the Bharat 52/45, Garuda 105, and ATAGS.
The fact that the Indian Army has only been able to acquire the BAE System M777 howitzer from the United Kingdom in recent decades illustrates how substantial our defence imports have been — a failure to overcome massive technological gaps. After OFB/DRDO kept delaying, the Army’s Artillery Rationalisation Programme (FARP) for 3000 155 howitzers begs for a breakthrough.
Until the Kargil Fight, when we awoke with sleeping Bofors only to discover that the never-ending war over the freezing mountain had run out of ammunition. It was apparent that no amount of “strategic thought” would be useful if we didn’t have the ability to manufacture our own weapons.
The so-called—little arms—are also no small feat, as they are the source of military force for over a million strong men in uniform. When the government realised this and opened the door for its own industry—the private sector—while still maintaining “state control over the defence,” it exploded with enormous possibilities.
Domestic industry has infused the flow of technology with astounding efficiency, thanks to sophisticated machines, clever assembly lines, and new age technologies such as AI and Machine Learning.
Bharat Forge picks up the slack as the government places more trust in their abilities. And Bharat Forge’s CMD, who created the solid basis in metallurgy in India that forms the bedrock of military gear.
He chats with Manish Kumar Jha on his most daring moves and efforts in developing indigenous capabilities for the Indian Armed Forces. He also shares his vision for vital advance technologies based on his renowned metallurgy expertise, which is the preferred sector for advanced materials and complicated structures for aero engines and propulsion systems.
“Our level of experience in this field, even on a global scale, is really high,” he says. So I believe it’s a really logical position for you to begin looking at this and at the artillery gun.” “Except that now you’re going from steel to titanium to a nickel-based alloy because you have to deal with temperatures of 1000- 1100 degrees,” he explains, referring to the intricacy of an aviation engine, which is basically full of forgings and full of metal.
But, at its core, it is the storey of an indigenous endeavour to produce a howitzer that the Indian Army has been requesting for a long time. The advanced towed artillery guns system (ATAGS), a 155 mm/52 calibre gun system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is a high-priority project that is now undergoing trials under the most stringent General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR). On the surface, ATAGS appears to be the most advanced and first cannon in the world capable of firing BMCS zone 7.
In Sikkim, the ATAGS set a new record by firing at 13,000 feet and successfully completing 500 kilometres in difficult high-altitude terrain up to 15,400 feet, demonstrating tremendous mobility in the small mountain curves. While it had some setbacks in the last trial in the Pokhran under 50 degree+ temperatures, it encapsulates the determination and enormous effort toward indigenization that such a high-end piece of military equipment necessitates.
So, as I asked Baba Kalyani, when do you think this advanced towed artillery guns system (ATAGS) will be inducted by the Indian Army? This year, I hope. Not only do I expect the ATAGS to be admitted, but also our Garuda. “I’m also hoping that Light Weapon is inducted,” he says confidently, his work in the complex field of metallurgy reflecting his outstanding performance.