Three decade wait will be over when the K9 VAJRA-T 155mm/ 52 calibre tracked self-propelled howitzer will be inducted in the Indian Army arsenal on Friday. The gun has been developed and built by a private sector company by Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and South Korea’s Hanwha Tech Win (HTW).
According to the makers, these guns will meet the requirements of 21st century warfare by the Indian Army and will not only boost the firepower of strike formations in the plains, but in the desert too.
The guns that can be used in various missions include the deep fire support as it has a longer firing range; it is accurate and effective; is reliable fire support in all kinds of circumstances with its higher mobility and protection and qualitative superiority to overcome a numerical inferiority.
The K 9 which has been customised for the Indian Army is a variant of K9 Thunder which is the world’s best 155mm/52 Cal.SPH, and is in various armies including the South Korean army and has the ability to fire Indian as well as NATO standard ammunitions. The K9 Thunder development programme started in 1989 and the first gun entered service with the South Korean Army in 1999.
The private sector company had won the bid in May 2017 to deliver 100 howitzers at a cost of nearly Rs 4,500 crore under the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in 42 months. The guns have over 50 per cent indigenous components.
As has been reported earlier by FE Online, under the contract, L&T brought 10 K9 VAJRA-T from South Korea and the remaining 90 will start getting produced at L&T’s Strategic Systems Complex in Talegaon near Pune. This project has been fast tracked to ensure that Indian Army’s modernisation programme.
While this is the first ever defence programme between India and South Korea and the two countries have an Inter-Governmental MoU for cooperation in military shipbuilding.
More about Vajra K9
There were 13 Indian systems which were part of the prototype.
The VAJRA-T is a variant of the highly successful K9 Thunder modified for Indian conditions.
One thousand K9 Thunder guns have already been sold thus far.
Most critical parts: The barrel and breach – will be imported from South Korea
For towed guns in the future the barrel and breach can be made in India for larger orders
The indigenous systems on the gun will include the fire control system
Hull, turret, electronics, NBC systems, auto loaders, air conditioning and direct fire systems.
The VAJRA-T was declared the sole qualified gun after user evaluation trials at Pokhran.
The fire control system to cater to a huge mix of Indian ammunition
The deal is a “step higher than licensed production”
“It will be an Indian product made in an Indian factory