Indian MoD today inducted three major artillery gun systems, including the BAE Systems’ M777 Ultra Light Howitzers and the Hanwha Techwin-L & T K-9 self-propelled artillery gun, ‘Vajra,’ into the Army.
The third gun system inducted is the 'Composite Gun Towing Vehicle' for towing some of the existing guns in service with the country, while K9 Vajra is a self-propelled artillery gun.
The induction ceremony presided over by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be followed by establishing the first regiment for these artillery pieces— each comprising of about 18 guns of the M777s and the Vajra by around mid-next year, the MOD said on its Twitter account.
Induction of 100 K-9 Vajra at a cost of Rs 4,366 crore is to complete by November 2020. The first batch of 10 guns will be delivered this month, Defence Ministry spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand told reporters on Thursday. The next 40 guns will be delivered in November 2019, and another 50 in November 2020, he said. The first regiment of K9 Vajra, is expected to complete by July 2019.
The gun has a maximum range of 28-38 km. It is capable of burst firing three rounds in 30 seconds, intense firing of 15 rounds in three minutes and sustained firing of 60 rounds in 60 minutes, he said.
The K9 self-propelled artillery system has been developed by Indian firm, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) under technical collaboration with Hanwha Techwin of South Korea. The K-9 Vajra weighs about 45 tonnes and can reach a top speed of 60-70 km/hour. The Howitzer is particularly adapted to desert areas bordering Pakistan.
The Army is also going to raise seven regiments of 145 M777 howitzers. Five guns each will be delivered to the Army beginning August 2019 and the entire process will complete in following 24 months. The first regiment will complete by October next year. The gun, having a range of 30 km and can be transported using helicopters and aircraft.
Compact gun tractor to tow 130 MM and 155 MM artillery guns will also inducted during the ceremony, the officer said. It is fitted with a crane that can handle ammunition weighing two tons. Maximum speed of the vehicle without a tow is 80 km per hour which comes down to 50 km per hour with a gun attached to it, he added.