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L&T delivers over half of K9 Vajra-T SPHs to Indian Army ahead of schedule

16 January 2020
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L&T has delivered more than half of the 100 K9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 cal tracked SPHs ordered by the IA ahead of schedule. Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited L&T’s Armoured System Complex on 16 January. Source: Indian MoD

India's private-sector defence contractor Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has delivered ahead of schedule more than half of the 100 K9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 cal tracked self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) ordered by the Indian Army (IA).

The company handed over the 51st Vajra-T, which is a variant of the Hanwha Defense K9 Thunder SPH, to Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 16 January at L&T's Armoured System Complex (ASC) facility in the western coastal town of Hazira in the state of Gujarat.

In an official statement L&T claimed that the SPH, like the 50 howitzers before it, was delivered to the IA before the stipulated schedule in keeping with the INR43.66 billion (USD615.70 million) contract awarded by India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) in mid-2017.

The contract requires L&T to complete delivery of all 100 K9 Vajra-Ts to the IA by the end of 2020: a deadline that company officials said will "in all likelihood" be met ahead of schedule.

The contract also includes an engineering support package comprising spares, documentation, training, and maintenance transfer of technology to IA workshops to support the SPHs for their entire service life.

The K9 Vajra-T formally entered service with the IA in late 2018.

Company officials said the SPH incorporates 50% indigenous content that involved sourcing about 13,000 components per howitzer from some 500 local manufacturers.

The Mumbai-based company claims to have developed 14 systems for the K9 Vajra-T, including its fire- control, direct -fire, and ammunition handling systems, as well as its auxiliary power packs, air-conditioning, and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection gear.

Powered by a German-made 1,000 hp MTU MT 881 Ka-500 V8 water-cooled diesel engine and driven by a fully automatic US-origin Allison transmission, the 47-tonne K9 is operated by a five-man crew and is capable of firing assorted projectiles to ranges between 18 and 40 km.

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