K9 Vajra Current Affairs - 2019

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PM inaugurates manufacturing facility for K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns in Hazira

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Armoured Systems Complex (ASC), developed by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) at Hazira near Surat in Gujarat. This Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) is the country’s first private facility where the K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns will be manufactured.

K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns

The features of the K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns

  • The gun weighs 50 tonnes and can fire 47kg bombs at a 43-kilometre distance target.
  • It can turn around at zero radii.
  • K9 Vajra is a variant of K9  specially designed for operation in the desert areas bordering Pakistan.

Make in India – Defence

The Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) at Hazaria is a striking example of Make in India Defence. The L&T is executing the production of the K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns and has signed a transfer of technology contract for guns with South Korean company Hanwha Corporation.

Around 400 SMEs are involved in developing 13,000 parts and steps are being taken to make a totally indigenous battle tank without having to depend on external help.

The Army now doesn’t have to depend on foreign nations for spare parts during its 40-year life cycle. The Army’s life cycle cost will be drastically reduced.

Indian Army inducts 3 artillery gun system

Indian Army inducted three major globally combat proven artillery gun system viz. M777 A2 ultra light howitzers (ULH), K-9 Vajra-tracked self-propelled guns and ‘Composite Gun Towing Vehicle’ at Deolali Field Firing Range in Maharashtra. These are first artillery gun systems to be inducted by Indian Army in three decades. Last inducted was Bofors artillery gun system procured from Sweden in early 1980s.

Key Facts

M777 A2 Ultra Light Howitzers : It is 155mm, 39 Calibre ULHs towed artillery gun, with maximum range of 24-30km procured from US. It being versatile and light weight can be heli-lifted, thus providing employment flexibility in different terrains.

It will be procured under India-US deal signed in November 2016 for 145 M777 Ultra-Light Howitzers. Under it, 25 guns will be imported and rest will be assembled in India by BAE Systems in partnership with Mahindra Defense.

Deliveries will be completed by mid-2021. The gun systems induction gives a major impetus to Make In India initiative. It will bring new level of capability to artillery unit by offering rapid deployment and extreme accuracy.

K9 Vajra guns: It is a 155-mm, 52-calibre self-propelled gun with maximum range of 40 km. It will be imported from South Korea. It is customized version of original K9 Thunder artillery gun for desert conditions.  Total 100 units will be procured by Army, and first 10 will be imported in semi knocked down form from South Korea and assembled by L&T in India and rest 90 will be manufactured in India. The first regiment of K9 will be equipped by July 2019 and all 100 guns will be delivered by November 2020.

Common Gun Tower: It is 6×6 field artillery tractor is indigenously developed by Ashok Leyland. It with has cross country capability and will replace ageing fleet of artillery gun towing vehicles.