NEW GUN SYSTEMS ADD FIRE POWER
Army chief said three more systems, developed in collaboration with Indian industries, would be procured next year
An M777 Howitzer gun fires in the air to mark the formal induction of the artillery gun system during a ceremony at the Deolali artillery centre, in Nashik district on Friday. The K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun and the Composite Gun Towing Vehicle, too, were inducted
THREE more gun systems, including Dhanush, and two systems being developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Indian industries, would be inducted into the Indian Army by next year, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat has said. The announcement came on the sidelines of the formal induction of two state-of-the-art gun systems by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday.
“Several new equipment are being procured. New assault rifles, other rifles, missiles and helicopters are being procured for the infantry. Similarly, three new gun systems would be inducted into the artillery next year,” Rawat said while interacting with the media after the ceremony to dedicate the 155mm, 39 Calibre Ultra light Howitzer and the 155mm 52 calibre K9 Vajra self propelled gun systems to the nation.
Stressing that such a ceremony to induct new weapon systems into the Indian artillery was the first in 30 years, the defence minister said, “These inductions will herald the new artillery of a rising India. The process of modernisation is very long and arduous. But, I’m sure the Indian Army shall rise to the occasion and ensure that this process goes through without any hiccups.”
Sitharaman also praised the contribution of Indian industries in the development of India’s defence manufacturing capabilities and added that it immensely helps the MSME sector.
While the Ultra light Howitzers have been procured from USA, under Foreign Military Sales, would be assembled in India by BAE Systems, in partnership with Mahindra Defence, the Vajra self propelled gun systems have been imported from Hanwha Techwin of South Korea and assembled by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in India. While the Ultra light Howitzer guns are being procured at a cost of USD 737 bn, the cost of 100 K9 Vajra is Rs 4366 crore, the defence minister said.
Due to their ultra light weight, the Howitzer guns can even be airlifted to difficult terrains, while maneuverability, speed and firepower are some of the strengths of Vajra. A 6x6 Field Artillery Tractor indigenously developed by Ashok Leyland, too, was integrated into the artillery on Friday.
“It’s a great accomplishment for us, as ten K9 Vajra guns assembled under the phase one programme, are being inducted ahead of schedule. The 155 mm / 52 calibre tracked self-propelled gun system hits the target with great precision. Two more guns are being readied at our factories and we shall start delivering in a couple of months,” Jayant Patil, director of L&T said.
K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun, at the formal induction of the gun systems,including the M777 Howitzer guns and Composite Gun Towing Vehicle, during a ceremony at Deolali artillery centre in Nashik on Friday |