October 9, 2015 defencetalk.com
Indian engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T), in partnership with Korea’s Samsung Techwin (STW), has bagged a Rs 4,875-crore ($750 million) order for supplying the Indian Army with 100 self-propelled (SP), tracked howitzers.
Business Standard has learnt the defence ministry has written to L&T and STW informing them that their gun – called the K-9 Vajra – has cleared army trials conducted in 2013 and 2014. Simultaneously, the ministry has written to the other vendor in contention, Russia’s arms export agency, Rosoboronexport (RoE), rejecting the gun it offered, the 2S19 MSTA howitzer.
The K-9 Vajra consist of a 155-mm, 52-calibre howitzer, mounted on a tracked vehicle. It is highly mobile and can keep up with tank columns in the open desert. The Indian army wants this gun for its mechanized strike corps, which launches rapid thrusts deep into enemy territory. The strike corps’ T-90S tanks currently outpace their artillery guns, which are towed by wheeled vehicles. This constrains the tank spearheads to fight without artillery support at key moments in the advance. With the K-9 Vajra mounted on a tracked vehicle that keeps up with tanks, the armour spearheads would be assured of heavy fire support.