Induction of M777- Ultra light Howitzers and K9-Vajra-T gun systems in the Indian Army
20th Nov, 2018
- Indian army recently inducted three artillery gun systems –
- M777: Ultra-Light Howitzers from USA
- K9 Vajra: T-self-propelled artillery gun from South Korea
- Composite Gun Towing Vehicle
- The entry of new artillery gun system into the forces came after a lag of about three decades.
- Last inducted artillery gun system in the army was the Bofors gun procured from Sweden in early 1980s.
- The Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan, 1999, envisages induction of 3,000 guns of various types for 220 artillery regiments.
Howitzer deal with US
- India signed a $737-million deal with the U.S. in November 2016 under the Foreign Military Sales Programme for 145 M777 Ultra Light Howitzers.
- Twenty-five guns will be imported and the rest will be assembled in India in partnership with Mahindra Group.
- All 145 guns will be inducted by the end of 2021.
M77 Ultra Light Howitzer
- It is a 155 mm, 39-calibre towed artillery gun made of titanium and aluminium alloys.
- It has a range of 2.4 to 30 km, depending on the type of ammunition used.
K9 –Vajra- deal with South Korea
- The Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin signed a contract to make the K9-Vajra-T guns.
- The deal includes the assignment of 100 guns, worth Rs 4,500 crore.
- Under the agreement, the first 10 guns will be imported from South Korea and the rest will be made by L&T in India.
- The first shipment will be in place by July 2019 and all 100 guns will be delivered by November 2020.
K9 –Vajra-T guns
- It is a 155-mm, 52-calibre self-propelled gun with a maximum range of 40 km.
- Its fire control system has been customised for desert conditions.
- It has been customised from the original K9 Thunder.
- K9 Vajra has three types of firing modes
Composite Gun Towing Vehicle
- It is a 6x6 vehicle with cross-country capability, required to tow the medium guns.
- These vehicles are made by an Indian company Ashok Leyland.
- These vehicles will be used for towing some of the existing guns in the service.
The induction of these guns marks a step in right direction. The M777 can bring a new level of capability to the artillery unit by offering rapid deployment and accuracy. It opened the route for artillery guns which has been halted by the controversy over Bofors scandal.
Future Acquisitions (Guns)
- 155 mm Towed Gun System developed by Nexter Systems of France and Elbit Systems of Israel.
- 155mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System developed by DRDO.
- 155mm Mounted Gun System.