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For the first time, the thunderous 21-gun salute — fired during the salute to the Tricolour at Red Fort on Independence Day — will be fired by indigenously developed guns: Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS). The system has been developed by the Defence R&D Organisation in collaboration with Tata Aerospace & Defence and with Bharat Forge.
“The moment is significant, since this year marks 75 years of India’s independence and also the first time an indigenously developed gun will be fired on the occasion,” said an announcement from Bharat Forge on Saturday.
The gun salute is a dramatic, centuries-old military salute or a mark of respect, that involves firing guns or artillery. The military unit or warship that fires its guns effectively demonstrates to the person or institution being saluted that it is disarming itself and rendering itself harmless since, at least in earlier times, it took a significant amount of time to reload the guns.
The tradition of gun salutes is as old as the invention of gunpowder and guns. Great Britain created a formal ranking of individuals and states, specifying who was entitled to how many gunshots.
States, such as Hyderabad and Jammu & Kashmir that were entitled to gun salutes were known as “salute states”.
When India became a sovereign country in 1947, it was, like other sovereign nations, entitled to a 21-gun salute. Since then, on state occasions such as Republic Day and Independence Day, and during visits of other countries’ heads of state, the playing of the national anthem is accompanied by the firing of a 21-gun salute.
To fire the salute precisely, there is a special ceremonial battery from 2281 Field Regiment stationed in Delhi.
The ATAGS is an indigenous 155 mm x 52 calibre howitzer gun. The howitzer, which has been developed under the Indian Army's artillery modernisation programme has, during its test firing programme, fired a shot to a world record beating range of 48 km.
The ATAGS has a unique all-electric drive, as well as the unique ability to fire six-round bursts with propellant up to Zone 7, generating pressures in the gun chamber that could blow up lesser barrels.
“The ultra-modern towed gun is manufactured with cutting-edge technology, with shoot-and-scoot capability and can fire a complete range of NATO Standard and in service ammunition,” said Bharat Forge. The gun also boasts of a high mobility in desert and mountainous terrains.
Commenting on the occasion, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said, “The initiative to use this indigenously developed gun will stand as a testament to India’s growing capacity of developing arms and ammunition indigenously. The gun has been specifically customised both in terms of blank firing and sound attributes so that it will be useful for ceremonial purposes.”
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First Published: Sun, August 14 2022. 07:50 IST