The Indian cabinet on Thursday cleared $650 million deal for the procurement of 100 K9 Vajra-T tracked 155mm/52 caliber artillery system from Larsen and Toubro for the Army.
Larsen & Toubro had emerged as the finalist for the contract. L&T in partnership with Samsung pitched the 155 mm artillery guns. Vajra is a variant of the Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder. The artillery guns are specially designed for operation in the desert areas had been shortlisted.
Although the bids were made under the ‘Buy Global’ provision of the defence procurement procedure, the K9 Vajra-T gun will be made at its Talegaon plant near Pune by the L&T.
The evaluation process was completed in September last year, when L&T was informed of the ministry’s decision. After completing the bench marking process, the ministry, on December 22, opened the price bid of L&T as it was the only gun to qualify in the trials.
The first 10 guns are to be supplied by L&T to the Army within 18 months of signing, with the balance 90 guns to be supplied in the next two years. These will be the first howitzers to be inducted in the Army after the procurement of controversial Bofors 155mm guns nearly three decades ago.
Four companies, including the TATA, the OFB and the BEML, bid for the RFP (request for proposal) issued in January 2011.