L & T’s Ambitious K 9 Vajra Manufacturing Plans
India’s first Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) in the private sector, developed by Larsen & Toubro, (L & T) was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 19 January 2019.
Hazira Manufacturing Complex has state-of-the-art facility with high-end machinery and automation aids, feeder shops, and a full-fledged mobility Test Tracks for acceptance and qualification of armoured vehicles as per the Company and is spread over 40 acres, within L&T’s 755-acre manufacturing complex.
The Complex is currently executing the prestigious ‘K9 Vajra-T’ 155mm/52 calibre Tracked, Self-Propelled Howitzer Guns program – the largest contract awarded to a private company by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India under the Make in India initiative through global competitive bidding which is for production of 100 K 9 Vajra systems.
An L & T Press Release states that the ‘K9 Vajra-T’ Howitzer Program involves delivery of 100 systems in 42 months with an associated Engineering Support Package (ESP) covering spares, documentation and training and Maintenance Transfer of Technology (MToT) to the Army Base Workshop to support the Howitzer regiments throughout their life cycle. Having delivered the 10 systems ahead of schedule, the ASC will deliver the balance 90 within next 22 months.
The ‘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 400 local Tier 1 manufacturers with over 100 from the MSME segment. L&T has put in sustained efforts and innovation in indigenising ‘K9 Vajra-T’, right from prototype built for user evaluation trials by indigenously developing fourteen critical systems, including the Fire Control System, Direct Fire System, and the Ammunition
L&T entered into Transfer of Technology agreement with South Korean Hanwha including training a team of engineers and integration specialists at Hanwha facilities. Subsequently, this trained team made structured efforts towards skill development in India by training suppliers’ as well as its own extended teams.