New Delhi (Sputnik): India's Minister of Defense Nirmala Sitharaman will hand over the first batch of K-9 VAJRA-T tracked, self-propelled artillery guns on November 9 to the Indian Army. The handing over ceremony will be organized at Devlali Field Firing Ranges, under the aegis of the School of Artillery Devlali, Nashik. Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat who has been fast-tracking the force's modernization program will accompany Sitharaman to the event.
Last year in April, Indian private sector giant L&T formally entered into a $710-million partnership with South Korea's Hanwha Techwin for India's second big gun deal after the BAE Systems-Mahindra partnership to build M777 ultra-light guns.
The 47-ton K9 Vajra-T is powered by a German 1,000 hp MTU MT 881 Ka-500 V8 diesel engine which can fire up to 40 kilometers. The Indian Army had intended to own a howitzer with a high ground clearance that could be used across various types of terrain.
This would be the first set of new Howitzers to be handed over to the Indian Army in three decades as New Delhi had shelved all plans to contract for field guns after the Bofors scandal in the late 80's. The scandal revolved around bigwigs in the Indian government led by the Congress Party and officials from the Swedish government having received kickbacks from Swedish arms manufacturers AB Bofors in exchange for a contract to supply 400 155mm Howitzer guns for the Indian Army.