K 9 Vajra – Boost to Integrated Battle Groups, Defence Private Industry
51st K9 VAJRA-T Gun from Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Armoured System Complex at Hazira in Gujarat was flagged off on 16 January by the Indian Defence Minister Mr Rajnath Singh.
Singh assured full support to the private defence industry in India to taken on defence manufacturing contracts on the occasion. “Our Government is open to new ideas and is determined to use the energy, entrepreneurship spirit and enterprise of the private industry in the defence sector,” Mr Rajnath Singh.
The K 9 Vajra self propelled artillery gun will provide a boost to the Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) in the plains and desert sector by matching speed of mechanized columns. Intimate fire support is essential for mechanized columns closing in on the enemy on the battlefield, K 9 Vajra will make up critical deficiency of Indian Army
Importantly the Vajra has Scoot and Shoot capability as it can fire salvos and change positions before enemy guns react is an important requirement on the mobile battlefield.
Powered by MTU MT 881 Ka-500 8-cylinder water cooled diesel engine coupled to the Allison ATDX1100-5A3 transmission it can develop power output of 1,000hp with a power-to-weight ratio of 21.6hp/t.
The propulsion system provides a top speed of over 67km/h and a cruising range of 360km.
The K9 can fire its first round within 30 seconds also fire on the move and change positions to avoid counter bombardment by the enemy guns with a range varying from 18 to 40 kms based on the type of ammunition used.
With induction of 51 guns at least three artillery regiments will be equipped with the K 9 boosting mobility of mechanized formations.
K 9 Vajra was manufactured in the Armoured Systems Complex of L & T a private defence major with 50 % indigenous content by value. Based on the most advanced South Korean Hanwa Techwin K 9 Thunder, India specific modifications for desert conditions have been carried out. Auxiliary Power Pack, Air-conditioning Systems, Fire Fighting Systems, and NBC Protection Systems are indigenously produced as per L & T. An indigenous defence manufacturing eco-system is gradually taking shape in the private sector in India.
As per L & T, press release ‘K9 VAJRA-T’ systems are being delivered with 50% indigenous content (by value) which includes 75% indigenous work packages at the Program level and involves local production of over 13,000 components per gun system through a supply chain of about 500 Indian Tier-1 manufacturers with over 100 of them from the MSME segment.