Indian Army gets howitzers ahead of schedule
Larsen and Toubro (L&T) delivered the 51st of 100 K9 Vajra-T 155mm L/52 tracked SPHs ordered by the Indian Army on 16 January, to coincide with Army Day.
Manufactured at L&T’s Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) in Hazira, Gujarat, the K9s represent the first major ‘Make in India’ programme of the army. They have been delivered months ahead of schedule, proving that the private sector, when committed, can deliver.
L&T partnered with South Korea’s largest defence company Hanwha Defense to adapt the K9 Thunder to produce the Vajra variant. This was done through domestic manufacture by training a team of engineers and integration specialists at Hanwha facilities. Subsequently, this team trained Indian supply chain partners.
Tests and trials were conducted in extreme weather conditions, jungles, deserts and mountains. By demonstrating its ability to handle Indian as well as NATO-standard ammunition, the K9 Vajra-T has proven its conformability to any field artillery unit, said a statement.
Spread over 40 acres within a sprawling 755-acre facility, the ASC is L&T Defence’s tenth manufacturing unit and its seventh new complex opened for defence production.
‘It has set various international technology and manufacturing benchmarks, and the K9 Vajra is certainly one of them,’ said A.M Naik, L&T’s group chairman, at the handover ceremony.
‘With the experience, track record, capability and infrastructure we have built at the ASC, we look forward to building diverse and advanced weapon platforms, thereby strengthening the defence industrial ecosystem,’ said J.D Patil, senior EVP (Defence & Smart Technologies) at L&T.
The contract encompasses delivery along with an engineering support package including spares, documentation, training and maintenance ToT to the Army Base Workshop to support howitzer regiments throughout their lifecycle.
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