Indian Army Inducts Two New Artillery Systems

IndraStra Global

Indian Army Inducts Two New Artillery Systems

By IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: India's Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief of the Army Chief (COAS) General Bipin Rawat and others pose for a group photograph at the formal induction of three major artillery gun systems including the M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers and the K-9 Vajra into the Army during a ceremony at Deolali artillery centre in Nashik district Friday November 9, 2018. / Source: Press Trust of India (PTI)

Image Attribute: India's Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief of the Army Chief (COAS) General Bipin Rawat and others pose for a group photograph at the formal induction of three major artillery gun systems including the M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers and the K-9 Vajra into the Army during a ceremony at Deolali artillery centre in Nashik district Friday November 9, 2018. / Source: Press Trust of India (PTI)

On November 9, 2018,  Indian Army (IA) has formally inducted two new artillery systems and one new artillery support system which includes BAE Systems' three M777 A2 155 mm/39-calibre towed lightweight howitzer (along with Selex Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems), ten Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Defence's ten K-9 Vajra-T (Thunderbolt) 155mm/ 52 caliber self-propelled howitzers, and Ashok Leyland's 6X6 Composite Gun Towing Vehicle.

The "Dedication Ceremony" was presided over by India's Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Ram Rao Bhamre, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat, senior serving officers of the Indian Army & Ministry of Defence, representative of manufacturing industries as also dignitaries from the governments of the United States and South Korea  at the Artillery Centre at Deolali (Maharastra State) in western India.

M777 A2 155 mm/39-calibre Towed Lightweight Howitzer


Image Attribute: An M777 Howitzer gun is fired at its formal induction into the Army at the Deolali artillery centre in Nashik district. / Source: Press Trust of India

Image Attribute: An M777 A2 Howitzer gun is fired at its formal induction into the Army at the Deolali Artillery Centre in Nashik district. / Source: Press Trust of India (PTI)

The 155mm, 39 Calibre Ultra Light Howitzers have been procured from the U.S. under the government-to-government foreign military sales and will be assembled in India by BAE Systems in partnership with Mahindra Defence. The howitzers have been tested in high temperatures of Jaisalmer (Rajasthan State) as well as in high altitude areas of Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir State). From March 2019, five guns will be delivered every month, to reach a total of 145 guns by June 2021. Overall, the gun system is versatile, lightweight and can be heli-lifted, thereby providing much-needed flexibility in employment in various terrains obtainable in the country.

K-9 Vajra-T (Thunderbolt) 155mm/ 52 caliber Self-propelled Howitzers


The K9 VAJRA-T developed and manufactured by L&T Defence. It is a derivative of the South Korean K9 Thunder, developed by Samsung Techwin for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces and now manufactured by Hanwha Land Systems under the new entity "Hanwha Techwin".

The initial 10 units were brought from South Korea in 'semi knocked down' state and assembled by India's Larsen & Toubro. The delivery is a part of a deal concluded in mid-2016 for ₹4,366 crores (US$ 600.4 million) for 100 units under the government's 'Make In India' initiative. The rest of the 90 units will be produced locally by Larsen & Toubro for the Indian Army at L&T's Strategic Systems Complex in Talegaon near Pune. The company is also putting up a production line for K9 VAJRA-T at Hazira in Gujarat.

Image Attribute: A K9 VAJRA-T 155mm/ 52 caliber self-propelled howitzer at its formal induction into the Army at the Deolali Artillery Centre in Nashik district. / Source: Press Trust of India

Image Attribute: A K9 VAJRA-T 155mm/ 52 caliber self-propelled howitzer presented at its formal induction into the Army at the Deolali Artillery Centre in Nashik district. / Source: Press Trust of India (PTI)

According to the company statement, "The howitzer is capable of proving deep fire support with its longer firing range, has qualitative superiority to overcome a numerical inferiority with its higher rate of fire and accuracy along with effective and reliable fire support in all kinds of circumstances with its higher mobility and protection."

According to Defence Ministry spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand, the next 40 guns will be delivered in November 2019, and another 50 in November 2020.

Composite Gun Towing Vehicle


During the ceremony, the Army also inducted the 6x6 "Composite Gun Towing Vehicle", indigenously developed by Ashok Leyland which will provide the much-awaited replacement for the existing artillery guns in service. The vehicle can tow 130 MM and 155 MM artillery guns. Also, It is fitted with a crane that can handle ammunition weighing two tons. The maximum speed of the vehicle without a tow is 80 km per hour which comes down to 50 km per hour with a gun attached to it. Ashok Leyland as major defense contractor has supplied over 70,000 units of its Stallion trucks to the Indian Army till date, serving in key logistic operations.