07:47 GMT21 February 2020
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    India's Larsen & Toubro and Hanwha Techwin (HTW) of South Korea signed a contract for execution of the 155mm/52 Cal Tracked Self-Propelled (SP) Gun program for the Indian Army. Post-user evaluation trial, L&T was declared the sole qualified bidder based on the performance of the K9 Vajra-T.

    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — The K9 Vajra-T howitzer is an enhanced version of HTW's K9 Thunder, to suit specific requirements of the Indian Army including desert operations.

    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 burst rate of fire would be three rounds in 30 seconds while it can fire 15 rounds in three minutes in intense range. The Indian Army had intended to own a howitzer having a high ground clearance which can be used across varied terrain.

    "This contract marks an important milestone in L&T's Defense Business journey and in our relationship with Hanwha Techwin," Jayant Patil, Head of Defense and Aerospace and Member of Heavy Engineering Board at L&T said. "It will create synergies not only for this program but also for upcoming Indian and global programs. L&T plans to begin production of this vital weapon system at its Strategic Systems Complex at Talegaon near Pune in Maharashtra and deliver the first batch of 10 guns. L&T also has initiated setting up of a greenfield manufacturing line at Hazira, Gujarat, integral with a state-of-the-art test track, to produce, test and qualify the K9 Vajra-T guns."

    K9 Vajra-T will be manufactured with over 50% indigenous parts and the joint venture will provide life cycle support from India. Both the companies will develop 14 subsystems including fire control and communication suits, hull, and turret structure in India. This will enable both the companies to bypass mandatory 30% investment of total deal value i.e. $646 million under offset obligation in India's defense or civil aviation sector.

    K9 Thunder, South Korea, India
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