The delivery of K-9 ‘Vajra’ self-propelled guns in India with technological assistance from the South Korean firm has been made several months ahead of schedule, according to media reports.
The K9 Thunder is developed by the Agency for Defense Development and Samsung Aerospace Industries and is now manufactured by Hanwha Defense.
Hanwha Defense exported the first batch of 10 guns to the Indian Army in November, upon which 41 guns of the K-9 Vajra — a modified version K-9 155-mm 52-caliber — have been manufactured and provided almost three months ahead of schedule.
In 2017, Hanwha Defense signed a contract worth $583 million with the Indian Army to supply 100 K-9 self-propelled artillery guns. Post the delivery of the 10 K-9 Vajra guns, India’s private-sector defence contractor Larsen & Toubro has been manufacturing the remaining 90 guns in India with technical support from Hanwha Defense.
The 47-ton K-9 Vajra is a modified version of the Samsung-Techwin K-9 155 mm/52-caliber. Powered by a German-made 1,000 hp MTU MT 881 Ka-500 V8 water-cooled diesel, the K-9 has an operational range of 450 kilometers (279 miles). The howitzer can engage enemy targets at a distance of up to 40 kilometers (24 miles).
South Korean defence firm Samsung-Techwin and its local partner, L&T, signed a contract for 100 self-propelled howitzers in 2017. The contract requires L&T to complete delivery of all 100 K9 Vajra-Ts to the IA by the end of 2020.