On February 18, 2021, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) delivered the 100th & Final K-9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled Howitzer guns to the Indian army from L&T’s Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) situated at Hazira near Surat, Gujarat. The K-9 Vajra was flagged off by Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane.
- K-9 Vajra has a range of 38 kms and is an indigenized version of K-9 Thunder of South Korea.
- The Howitzers have been produced by L&T with technology transfer from South Korean defence major Hanwha Defense.
- The Howitzers have been delivered with more than 80% indigenous work packages & above 50% indigenisation (by value)
- With this, L&T has successfully completed delivery of all 100 Howitzer guns under the INR 4, 366 Crore contract awarded to it by the Ministry of Defence in May 2017.
Deployment in Ladakh
Three K-9 Vajra Howitzers are set to be deployed for trials in the High Altitude mountainous area of ladakh.
- Based on the performance of the guns at the challenging conditions, Indian Army will place orders for 2 or 3 additional regiments of Howitzers for mountain operations.
Howitzer are Large ranged weapons used for firing shells on high trajectories at low velocities.
- Other Howitzers being used in the Indian Army are Vajras, Dhanush & M777 Ultra-light howitzers.
- India is also set to induct its indigenous Howitzer called ‘Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)’ into the Indian Army. ATAGS is being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
L&T’s Hazira Manufacturing Plant
- L&T has established a green-field manufacturing-cum-integration and testing facility called ‘Armoured Systems Complex’ at Hazira near Surat, Gujarat as part of its ‘Make-in-India’ initiative.
- It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2018.
- In January 2020, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flagged off the 51st K-9 Vajra Howitzer from the Hazira Manufacturing Plant.
Other components of the Defence Contract:
- Along with the delivery of K-9 Howitzers, the contract also involves associated Engineering Support Package (ESP) covering spare, system documentation & training.
- It also involves Maintenance Transfer of Technology (MToT) to an army base workshop to support Howitzers throughout their operational life cycle.
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i.L&T Defence,defence manufacturing group of Larsen and Toubro received ‘green channel status’ from Defence Ministry. It has received the status from the Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) under the Ministry of Defence for its major naval weapon delivery systems.
About Larsen & Toubro (L&T):
Chairman – Anil Manibhai Naik
Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director – S. N. Subrahmanyan
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra