Indian media outlets report that Elbit Systems has won a tender to deliver its ATHOS (Autonomous Towed Howitzer Ordnance System) 2052 to the Indian Army, in a deal estimated at over $1 Billion. However, Elbit has not yet notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on such a deal.
“At the end of several rounds of tendering and trials since the beginning of the last decade, the Israeli company Elbit Systems has won the Indian Army’s 155 mm/52 caliber towed artillery gun competition, of which the import content alone is valued at over $1 Billion,” according to Army Recognition.
Elbit’s Indian partner for the tender is Bharat Forge. “The Elbit-Bharat Forge bid for the ATHOS 2052 howitzer was found significantly lower than that of French Nexter, which offered the Trajan gun jointly with its Indian partner Larsen & Toubro”, Indian Defense News reports.
While the requirement is for 1,580 towed guns, the majority of the systems might eventually be manufactured locally. According to the reports, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is pushing to increase local production over import. Hence it is quite possible that of the 1,580 guns, only 400 will be purchased from Elbit.
As for the acquisition of the remaining 1,180 guns, the Government may opt for the indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), being developed by DRDO in partnership with Tata Power SED and Bharat Forge.
It should be noted that there is a constant tension between the Indian army that mostly wants imported products and the DRDO which is interested in local development. This tension was also relevant in other deals such as the spike missile and fighter aircraft.