by Sushant Ranjan & Mubarak Ansari

Pune: The first lot of 155 mm/52 calibre tracked self-propelled gun system, K9 VAJRA-T, developed by the Larsen and Toubro (L&T) Defence will be handed over to the Indian Army by the end of this month. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had given a contract to the company to supply 100 guns for Rs 4,500 crore. A total of 25 guns will be delivered now.

Jayant Patil, whole-time Director (Defence) of L&T, told Sakal Times, “We have already developed the gun and are ready to deliver. We have developed 25 guns within the time frame given by the government. It has already undergone all necessary trials and tests. The rest will be delivered also on time.”

The government had given the contract to L&T in May 2017. Under the contract, which is in line with the government’s 'Make In India' initiative, L&T will deliver 100 guns, which will have over 50 per cent indigenous components, in 42 months, from its manufacturing facilities, including a new Armoured Systems Complex at Hazira in Gujarat.

L&T, along with its South Korean technology partner Hanwha Tech Win (HTW), had bid for this 'Boy Global' acquisition programme of MoD in 2011. 

Later, it emerged as the sole qualified bidder out of four bidders for the programme. The bidders went through a series of user evaluations, based on the performance of the K9 VAJRA-T self-propelled Howitzer.

The gun is an enhanced version of Hanwha Tech Win's K9 Thunder - self-propelled Howitzer - and is customised and co-developed by L&T to suit the specific requirements of the Indian Army, including desert operations.

The K9 Thunder self-propelled Howitzer is considered among the best in the world with over 1,000 units already in service in Korea and few other countries.

About K9 VAJRA-T

The K9 VAJRA-T meets the requirements of 21st century warfare, which is based on the following missions: Deep fire support with its longer firing range; qualitative superiority to overcome a numerical inferiority with its higher rate of fire and accuracy and effective and reliable fire support in all kinds of circumstances with its higher mobility and protection.