In line with the government’s push for local defence manufacturing, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Friday gave its approval to the much-awaited Rs 4,600-crore order for field guns (the K-9 Vajra Guns) to be manufactured in India by Larsen and Toubro (L&T).
L&T has tied up with Korea’s Techwin to supply 100 self-propelled, tracked howitzers to the Indian Army. As much as 50-60% manufacturing will take place in India, officials told DefenceAviationPost.com. Contract for these guns—K-9 Vajra-T, which is a 155-mm, 52-calibre self-propelled howitzer, will be signed in the next 10-15 days, they said, adding that deliveries of these guns will have to be completed in the next 42 months after the signing of the contract. These specialised guns, to be manufactured at L&T’s Talegaon facility outside Pune, can hit targets at a distance of 45 kms.
A senior Army official said the clearance is seen as a major boost to the Army’s artillery gun programme, the second one that has been approved by the government in the past two years. In June 2016, a contract was given to the US based BAE Systems, for 145 ultra-light howitzers (ULH) of the 155 mm variety. Before the BAE ULH deal, it was in March 1986 when 400 pieces were purchased from Swedish company AB Bofors for Rs 1,500 crore
These specialised artillery guns to be manufactured by L&T and its foreign partner will move on tank-type tracks to accompany tanks and mechanised regiments to battle.
The Ministry of Defence and the Army had completed the evaluation process of the L&T gun and other guns in September 2015 and bids were opened in December that year.