New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid tensions with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army on Saturday said that it has deployed its first K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzer regiment in forward areas. This comes after Army chief General MM Naravane warned that PLA has deployed its troops in "considerable numbers" across eastern Ladakh.

"These guns can also work in high-altitude areas, field trials were extremely successful. We have now added an entire regiment, this will be really helpful," General Naravane told news agency ANI in an interview.

K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled howitzer

K-9 Vajra or K-9 Thunder is a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer that has been designed by South Korean firms Agency for Defense Development and Samsung Aerospace Industries. It has a length, width and height of 12 m, 3.4 m and 2.73 m respectively and is operated by 5 people -- commander, driver, gunner and two loaders.

The K-9 Vajra is equipped with POSCO MIL-12560H armour and can fire up to 40 km using K307 base bleed ammunition. The developers of K-9 Vajra claim that the howitzer can fire three rounds in 15 seconds in burst mode. It can also fire six to eight rounds per minute in sustain fire mode.

It is also equipped with other India specific modifications for desert conditions such as auxiliary power packs, air-conditioning systems, fire fighting systems, and NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection systems.

How India got K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzer?

India had signed a Rs 4,500-crore contract with L&T Defence, supported by its South Korean technology partner Hanwha Tech Win (HTW), to produce 100 units of K9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 calibre tracked self-propelled gun systems for the Indian Army in 2017. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said that more than 75 per cent of howitzer will be manufactured in India.

"I see this complex has a new and astonishing achievement... There were many sectors in India where private sector's participation was almost nil. Defence sector was one such example," Rajnath was quoted as saying by LiveMint.

"Today, when I saw the K-9 Vajra-T gun, I could see strong gun, but more than that, I could see a strong India... In defence, this is a brilliant example of Make in India," he added.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma