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Indian Army gets a power boost with the induction of K9 Vajra and M 777 Howitzer

The induction of the K9 Vajra and M 777 Howitzer has bridged a 30-year old gap in the procurement of modern artillery guns for the Indian Army after Bofors.

Enhancing its artillery capacity, the Indian Army inducted in its fleet artillery guns K9 Vajra and M777 howitzers on Friday. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Army Chief General Bipin Rawat were present in the induction ceremony when the Army enlisted these fierce combat equipment in its armoury at Army’s Deolali artillery centre.

The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence, Colonel Anand, said to the media on Thursday that within 2 years till November 2020, 100 K9 Vajra guns will be included in the Army. By the end of next month, 10 batches of K9 Vajra guns will reach the artillery and 40 other guns will be included by November next year. While the remaining 50 guns will be available in November 2020. The production and induction of this warfare is a result of collaboration between India and South Korea under the former’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. It is being built by Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and South Korea’s Hanwha Tech Win (HTW).

Apart from this, the Army will also include a regiment of 145 M777 Howitzers guns. Five guns will be included in the Army arsenal at the beginning of August 2019. This process will take 24 months to complete. The first regiment will be completed in October next year. These 30-kilometre range artillery guns are highly mobile and could be transported from helicopters or aircraft to remote locations.

After almost 3 decades since Bofors, self-propelled howitzers will be inducted in the Indian Army arsenal. This highly potent 21st-century weapon can be used in different modes including the deep fire support as it has a longer firing range. It provides reliable fire support in all kinds of situations with its higher versatility and improved protection by the dint of its qualitative supremacy to overpower a numerical inferiority.

The first batch of the ‘Made in India’ K9 Vajra guns is being prepared by the Indian private sector for the first time. A full load of K9 Vajra is expected to be ready by July next year. The fire-range of these guns is 28-38 kilometres. This cannon can fire three consecutive rounds in just 30 seconds. In just 3 minutes it can fierce fire 15 rounds, while in 60 minutes it can shoot 60 rounds.

The K9 Vajra gun which is customised to fulfil Indian demands is a variant of K9 Thunder, the world’s best 155mm/52 Cal.SPH. Private defence equipment manufacturer L&T had won the bid in May 2017 to build 100 howitzers at a cost of nearly Rs 4,500 crore under the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. The guns will source about 50% of its components from India. This is one of the first defence programmes between India and South Korea and the two countries have already signed an Inter-Government MoU for collaboration in military vessel building.

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