India’s Larsen & Toubro (L&T) officially launched the country’s first private-sector Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) on 19 January, in which the Indian Army’s (IA’s) K-9 Vajra (Thunderbolt) – a variant of the Hanwha Techwin K-9 Thunder 155 mm/52-calibre tracked self-propelled howitzer (SPH) – is already being built.
Spread over 40 acres and located in the western coastal town of Hazira, the ASC, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be used to construct and integrate armoured platforms such as SPHs, future infantry combat vehicles and main battle tanks under the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The company pointed out in a statement that it has already built 10 of the 100 K-9 SPHs ordered by the IA in mid-2017 for INR45 billion (USD630 million), which were handed over to the IA in November 2018: several months ahead of schedule. Delivery of the remaining SPHs is expected to be completed within the next 22 months.
According to Ministry of Defence spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand, the first K-9 Vajra regiment is set to become operational by July.
L&T pointed out in its statement that the K-9 Vajra, which was jointly developed by L&T and South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin, is being produced with 50% indigenous content, which involves the local production of more than 13,000 components per gun by about 500 different manufacturers.
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