Indian defense firm Kalyani Group has finalized a substantial export contract with Armenia encompassing two of its locally-developed artillery systems. The agreement covers the sale of the MArG 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer and ATAGS 155mm towed gun, highlighting deepening India-Armenia defense ties.
The deal follows the visit of Armenia’s Defense Minister Suren Papikyan to India’s DefExpo 2022, where he expressed interest in Indian defense products. It builds on $245 million and $40 million contracts in 2022 for Pinaka rocket launchers and Swathi radars respectively.
Issues with ATAGS in the Past
According to reports, the ATAGS has not been delivered to the Indian Army despite the Ministry of Defence’s initial plans to induct this towed gun in large numbers. The ATAGS encountered issues during testing by the Indian Army in the past, and its current status for deployment remains uncertain.
Expanding India-Armenia Defense Collaboration
This latest contract underscores the upward trajectory in military cooperation between India and Armenia. In addition to defense sales, the two nations have increased joint exercises and military exchanges.
Key Capabilities of the MArG 155mm SPH
The MArG combines firepower, precision, and tactical mobility in one robust platform. Its 39 caliber 155mm gun delivers sustained, accurate bombardments across munitions types.
Weighing just 18 tons, the 4×4 wheeled SPH can traverse 30° gradients and evade counter-fire rapidly. These attributes make the MArG suited for modern mobile warfare.
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Enhancing Armenia’s Artillery Forces
The deal provides a timely boost to Armenia’s long-range fires. The MArG and ATAGS bring superior range and survivability compared to legacy Soviet-origin systems.
As Armenia faces ongoing regional tensions, expanding its artillery capabilities is critical for defense and deterrence. The contract with India arms Armenia with advanced indigenous alternatives to Russian hardware.
The agreement exemplifies the value Armenia places on strengthening its defense partnership with India through procurement and interoperability.
Basic features of ATAGS 155mm Gun
The ATAGS 155mm/52 caliber towed howitzer was developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and produced locally by Bharat Forge.
It represents a new generation of high-performance artillery systems designed and built domestically in India.
With its 52 caliber length barrell, the ATAGS can fire extended range 155mm ammunition out to distances of over 45 km.
This provides significant standoff range for bombardments using standard and precision guided projectiles.
Weighing just 16 tons, the ATAGS was designed for rapid tactical deployments in diverse terrains.
The lightweight gun can traverse medium slopes and be towed at speeds up to 60 kph using robust Indian-made specialized tractors.
The ATAGS features an automated ammunition handling system and compatible charge modules for sustained high rates of fire.
This allows 3-4 rounds per minute to be fired accurately with a 3-man crew. The gun’s automation enhances shoot-and-scoot survivability.
The ATAGS uses an navigation-aided targeting system for all weather firing precision. This enables accurate artillery support even in low visibility conditions, a key requirement for modern artillery.