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Indian army gets more firepower! Rajnath Singh flags off 51st K9 VAJRA-T Gun

FE Online
Indian army, L&T, K9-Vajra-T Gun, Rajnath Singh, 51st Vajra Howitzer, Armoured Systems Complex, MSME segment 

L&T has rolled out the K9-Vajra-T Gun for Indian Army on Thursday, months ahead of its contractual date. It was flagged off by defence minister Rajnath Singh from L&T's Armoured System Complex (ASC), today at the company's Armoured System Complex Hazira (Gujarat). Its delivery ahead of time has given Indian Army a much-needed firepower boost. After the delivery of 51st Vajra Howitzer, the company is also on track to deliver the entire 100 howitzers ahead of schedule.

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"Building Platform Programmes like the K9 Vajra, contribute to the economy with a large multiplier effect and have a significant role in building a national defence industrial base," said JD Patil, Senior EVP (Defence & Smart Technologies) and Member of the Board, L&T.

Adding, "We are ready to take on development and build India's future armoured platforms, with the experience, track record, capability and infrastructure built at the Armoured Systems Complex. Traction on the Strategic Partnership Model is what we look forward to for building diverse and advanced weapon platforms. This will strengthen the defence industrial ecosystem and enhance self-reliance in National security."

Said AM Naik, Group Chairman L&T, "Our Defence team has once again demonstrated L&T's engineering and execution prowess in building this most advanced weapon system to the exacting levels of quality while ensuring on-time delivery."

According to the company, the Hazira Manufacturing Complex has set various international technologies and manufacturing benchmarks and the K9 Vajra is certainly one of them.

Currently, L&T Defence is executing the 'K9 VAJRA-T' 155mm/52 calibre Tracked, Self Propelled Howitzer Guns programme. The largest contract was awarded to the company by the Ministry of Defence, through global competitive bidding.

The contract involves the delivery of 100 systems in 42 months with an associated Engineering Support Package (ESP) covering spares. This also includes documentation and training and Maintenance Transfer of Technology (MToT) to the Army Base Workshop to support the Howitzer regiments throughout their life cycle.

The company has converted the programme to Make-in-India mode and has established a new green-field manufacturing-integration-the testing complex at Hazira in the state of Gujarat. The Armoured Systems Complex is currently producing 100 'K9 Vajra-T' 155 mm 52 Cal Self-propelled Tracked Howitzers and is the first major Make in India Program of the Indian Army.

Being despatched ahead of time all the 'K9 VAJRA-T' systems are being delivered with 50% indigenous content (by value) which includes 75% indigenous work packages at the programme level. Also, local production of over 13,000 components per gun system through a supply chain of about 500 Indian Tier-1 manufacturers with more than 100 of them from the MSME segment is being done.

L&T has indigenously developed fourteen critical systems which include the Fire Control System, Direct Fire System, and the Ammunition Handling System. It is also equipped with other India specific modifications for desert conditions such as Auxiliary Power Pack, Air-conditioning Systems, Fire Fighting Systems, and NBC Protection Systems produced locally.

The India specific Gun is equipped with modifications for being operated in desert conditions such as Auxiliary Power Pack, Air-conditioning Systems, Fire Fighting Systems, and NBC Protection Systems, all made in India.

Both L&T and South Korea's largest defence company Hanwha has come together to adapt the well-proven K9 Thunder to make the Vajra variant. This has enabled indigenous manufacturing by training a team of engineers and integration specialists at Hanwha facilities in South Korea.