Kalyani confident and hopeful about ATAGS

Baba Kalyani, CMD, Bharat Forge is aiming to establish Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd (KSSL) as a leading Indian OEM of the world in Defence & Aerospace. Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd (KSSL), the defence arm of Bharat Forge is developing an entire range of field Artillery for Army: Bharat 52/ 45, Garuda 105 and ATAGS with DRDO. Fact that in decades, Indian Army could only acquire UK’s BAE System M777 howitzer into its Artillery, reflects how heavy our defence import has been — a dereliction in addressing the huge technological gaps. Army’s Artillery Rationalisation Programme (FARP) for ~3000 155 howitzers calls for breakthrough after OFB/DRDO just kept delaying. Until the Kargil War, when we woke with sleeping Bofors only to realize the missing ammunition for the unremitting war over the frozen mountain. It was realized that no amount of ‘strategic deliberation’ will be effective if we simply don’t have the capability to make our own guns. The so called—small arms—is no small feat either as it is the fountainhead of military might of more than a million strong men in uniform. When the realization came and Government opened the door for its own industry—the private industry – while still holding the ‘state control over the defence’, it burst with immense possibilities. Domestic industry infused the flow of technology with staggering efficiency based on modern machine, smart assembly line and injecting new age tools like AI and Machine Learning.

Bharat Forge takes that up and as government put more faith in their capability. And the man who laid the robust foundation in Metallurgy in India that forms the bedrock of military hardware, Bharat Forge’s CMD Baba Kalyani speaks with Manish Kumar Jha of BW Businessworld on such issues.

He speaks with Manish Kumar Jha on his boldest steps and efforts, where he is striving to build indigenous capabilities for Indian Armed Forces. He also puts forth his vision for the critical advance technology based on his acclaimed know- how in metallurgy and that is the coveted area for advanced materials and complex structure for the aero engine & propulsion system. He says: “Our level of expertise in this area is extremely high, even on a global basis. So I think it’s a very natural, position that you start looking at this, and you look at artillery gun.” From there he touches upon the complexity of aero engine which is basically full of forgings and full of metal, says: “Except that from steel now you’re going to titanium to a nickel-based alloy because you have to deal with temperatures of a 1000- 1100 degrees.”

But on fundamental, it is the story of the indigenous effort for developing a howitzer that Indian Army is asking for long. The advanced towed artillery guns system (ATAGS) a 155 mm/52 calibre gun system designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), that is on priority and going through trails under the extreme General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR). On the very first, ATAGS set to be the most advanced and the first gun in the world which has the capability to fire BMCS zone 7. And on the high altitude trials in Sikkim, the ATAGS created a new record as it fired at 13,000+ feet height and successfully completed 500+ km in treacherous high-altitude terrain up to 15,400 feet; proved extreme mobility in the narrow mountain curves. While it did have some setback in the last trail in the Pokhran under 50 degree+ temp, it sums up the determination and herculean effort towards indigenization that such calibre of next generation of military equipment requires.

So, when do you expect this advanced towed artillery guns system (ATAGS) to be inducted by the Indian Army as I posed this to Baba Kalyani? “I think, I hope this year. I’m expecting not only the ATAGS to be inducted but our Garuda gets inducted. I’m also hoping that Light weapon gets inducted,” he says with confidence that reflects his impeccable work in the complex field of metallurgy.

Read more at : https://www.businessworld.in/article/We-Are-Hopeful-Of-Not-Only-ATAGS-To-Be-Inducted-But-Garuda-And-Light-Weapon-Also-Baba-Kalyani-CMD-Bharat-Forge-/08-03-2022-422349/

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