Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday inducted three major artillery gun systems, including the M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers and the K-9 Vajra, into the Army.
The third gun system inducted is the ‘Composite Gun Towing Vehicle’ for towing some of the existing guns in service with the country, while K-9 Vajra is a self-propelled artillery gun.
The induction ceremony here comes ahead of establishing the first regiment — each comprising of about 18 guns — of the M777s and the Vajra by around mid-next year, an official said.
For procuring 145 M777s, India in November 2016 had entered into a contract with the United States under the Foreign Military Sales programme for Rs 5,070 crore.
The M777s, which have been used in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, can be easily transported to high altitude areas by helicopters.
Earlier today, the defence minister, in a tweet, announced that the state-of-the-art gun system, with heli-lift capabilities even in mountainous region, will be inducted today in Army.
Induction of 100 K9 Vajra at a cost of Rs 4,366 crore is to complete by November 2020. The first batch of 10 guns will be delivered this month, Defence Ministry spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand told reporters on Thursday.
The next 40 guns will be delivered in November 2019, and another 50 in November 2020, he said.
The first regiment of K9 Vajra, first-ever artillery gun manufactured by the Indian private sector, is expected to complete by July 2019.
The gun has a maximum range of 28-38 km. It is capable of burst firing three rounds in 30 seconds, intense firing of 15 rounds in three minutes and sustained firing of 60 rounds in 60 minutes, he said.
The Army is also going to raise seven regiments of 145 M777 howitzers.
Five guns each will be delivered to the Army beginning August 2019 and the entire process will complete in following 24 months. The first regiment will complete by October next year, the spokesperson said.
The gun, having a range of 30 km, can be moved to a desired location using helicopters and service aircraft.
Compact gun tractor to tow 130 MM and 155 MM artillery guns will also inducted during the ceremony, the officer said. It is fitted with a crane that can handle ammunition weighing two tons.
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, he added.
SOURCE : TNN