Honourable Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh flagged-off 51st K9 VAJRA-T Gun from L&T's Armoured System Complex (ASC), today. Maintaining the track record of ahead-of-time deliveries of the first 50 Guns in the K9 VAJRA-T program, the 51st Gun was also dispatched months ahead of contractual delivery date – a testimony to the technical capability, complex system integration skills, planning prowess and execution efficiency of L&T Defence.
On this momentous occasion, Mr. A.M. Naik, Group Chairman L&T said, "Our Defence team has once again demonstrated L&T's engineering and execution prowess in building this most advanced weapon system to the exacting levels of quality while ensuring on time delivery. The Hazira Manufacturing Complex has set various international technology and manufacturing benchmarks and the K9 Vajra is certainly one of them".
Mr. J.D. Patil, Senior EVP (Defence & Smart Technologies) and Member of the Board, L&T said, "Building Platform Programs like the K9 Vajra, contribute to the economy with a large multiplier effect and have a significant role in building a national defence industrial base. With the experience, track record, capability and infrastructure we have built at the Armoured Systems Complex, we are ready to take on development and build India's future armoured platforms. Traction on the Strategic Partnership Model is what we look forward to for building diverse and advanced weapon platforms thereby strengthening the defence industrial ecosystem and enhancing self-reliance in National security. With delivery of 51st Vajra Howitzer today we have created Industry benchmark by delivering first of class Armoured Systems ahead of schedule and are on track to deliver the entire 100 howitzers ahead of schedule."
L&T Defence is currently executing the 'K9 VAJRA-T' 155mm/52 calibre Tracked, Self-Propelled Howitzer Guns program - the largest contract awarded to an Indian private company by the Ministry of Defence, through global competitive bidding. The 'K9 VAJRA-T' Howitzer Program involves delivery of 100 systems in 42 months with an associated Engineering Support Package (ESP) covering spares, documentation and training and Maintenance Transfer of Technology (MToT) to the Army Base Workshop to support the Howitzer regiments throughout their life cycle. L&T as winner of the Globally Tendered Program, converted it to Make-in-India mode and established a new green-field manufacturing – integration – testing complex at Hazira in the state of Gujarat.
The 'K9 VAJRA-T' systems are being delivered with 50% indigenous content (by value) which includes 75% indigenous work packages at the Program level and involves local production of over 13,000 components per gun system through a supply chain of about 500 Indian Tier-1 manufacturers with over 100 of them from the MSME segment. L&T has put in sustained efforts and innovation in indigenising 'K9 VAJRA-T', right from the prototype built for user evaluation trials by indigenously developing fourteen critical systems, including the Fire Control System, Direct Fire System, and the Ammunition Handling System. The Gun is also equipped with other India specific modifications for desert conditions such as Auxiliary Power Pack, Air-conditioning Systems, Fire Fighting Systems, and NBC Protection Systems which are being indigenously produced.
L&T partnered South Korea's largest defence company Hanwha to adapt the well proven K9 Thunder to realise the Vajra variant and enable indigenous manufacturing by training a team of engineers and integration specialists at Hanwha facilities. Subsequently, this team trained our supply chain partners as well as own extended teams.
The ASC is a state-of-the-art facility to manufacture and integrate advanced armoured platforms such as Self-Propelled Artillery Howitzers, Future Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV), Future Ready Combat Vehicles (FRCV) or Future Main Battle Tanks.
Spread over 40 acres, within L&T's sprawling 755-acre Hazira Manufacturing Complex, the ASC comprises of high-end machinery and automation aids, feeder shops, and a full-fledged mobility Test Tracks for acceptance and qualification of armoured vehicles.