India could order 200 addtional K-9 Vajra 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers
According to information published by the "India Today" website on January 23, 2022, India could order a new batch of 200 K-9 Vajra 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers worth over an approximate amount of $1.5 Billion.
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The Indian Minister for Defence, Shri Rajnath Singh in the K9 VAJRA 155mm self-propelled howitzer at L&T Armoured System Complex, at Hazira, Gujarat on January 16, 2020. (Picture source Wikimedia)
Citing the "India Today" information, the new order could be placed this year, with the beginning of production in 2023 and all the deliveries will be completed before 2028. Until last year, the Indian Army had planned to order only one more K9 regiment.
In September 2015, the Indian Ministry of Defense selected Hanwha Techwin and Larsen & Toubro (L&T) as preferred bidders to supply 100 K9 Vajra-T to the Indian Army. On 6 July 2016, India agreed in purchasing 100 K9 Vajra-T for $750 million. On 29 March 2017, the Indian government approved a budget of $646 million for purchasing 100 K9 Vajra-T. A formal contract of $310 million was signed between Hanwha Techwin and Larsen & Toubro at New Deli on 21 April. Hanwha Techwin will supply the first 10 K9 Vajra-T, and 90 will be license-produced in India by Larsen & Toubro.
The K-9 Vajra is an Indian version of the South Korean K9 Thunder 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer produced under license in India by the company Larsen &Toubro. The Indian version is fitted with indigenous components including a fire control system, direct fire system, and ammunition handling systems developed and manufactured by the company L&T.
The K-9 Vajra is armed with a 155mm / 52 caliber gun which has a burst rate of fire of three rounds per 15 seconds and a maximum rate of fire of six to eight rounds a minute for three minutes. With HE (High Explosive) projectiles, it has a maximum firing range of 30 km but it can also fire K307 Base Bleed HE ammunition to reach a maximum firing range of 40 km.
The turret and the hull of the K-9 Vajra are made of welded steel construction providing ballistic protection against 14.5mm armor-piercing ammunition and 155mm artillery shell splinters. the vehicle has a crew of five including a driver, commander, gunner, and two loaders.
The K-9 Vajra is motorized with an MTU MT 881 Ka-500 8-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine developing 1,000 hp coupled to the Allison ATDX1100-5A3 transmission. It can reach a maximum road speed of 67 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 360 km.