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India Signs Largest Private Defense Contract for Korean Self-Propelled Guns

India’s Ministry of Defense has formally awarded a $676 million contract to Larsen & Toubro, India’s multinational engineering conglomerate, for the supply of 100 units of 155mm/ 52 caliber tracked self-propelled gun systems to the Indian Army.

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New Delhi (Sputnik) — The technology for the weapon is being provided by South Korean firm Hanwha Techwin (HT). L&T had bid for this ‘Buy Global' acquisition program of India's Ministry of Defense in 2011.

The K9 VAJRA-T gun is an enhanced version of HT's K9 Thunder, customized and co-developed by L&T & HT to suit the specific requirements of the Indian Army including desert operations.

"The deal envisages delivery of the 100 guns in 42 months with associated engineering support package and maintenance transfer of technology to support these Howitzer regiments throughout their life cycle. These guns will have over 50% indigenous content and will be delivered from L&T's manufacturing facilities, including a new Armored Systems Complex at Hazira," an L&T statement said.

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Among 4 bidders for the program RFP, L&T emerged as the sole qualified bidder, after a series of User Trials and Evaluations, based on the performance of the K9 VAJRA-T self-propelled Howitzer.

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 km. 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 with high ground clearance for use across varied terrain.

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