Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday flagged off the 51st K-9 Vajra-T gun at the Larsen and Toubro Armoured Systems Complex at Hazira, Surat. The L&T officials showed the minister the different manoeuvres of the K-9 Vajra-T, a tracked self-propelled howitzer.
Rajnath Singh sat in the vehicle on which the gun was mounted and was driven around the Hazira complex. These future-ready combat vehicles meet the requirements of 21st-century warfare, including deep fire support with its longer firing range. The Defence Minister also put 'tilak' and drew the auspicious 'swastik' symbol with kumkum on the new artillery. During the puja, he also offered flowers to the gun and broke a coconut.
The gun weighs 50 tonnes and can fire 47kg bombs at 43-kilometre distant targets. It can also turn around at zero radius. L&T had in 2017 won the Rs 4,500-crore contract from the Ministry of Defence to supply 100 units of K9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 calibre tracked self-propelled gun systems to the Indian Army under the Centre's 'Make in India' initiative. The K9 Vajra contract involves the delivery of 100 such systems in 42 months, which is the largest contract awarded to a private company by the Ministry of Defence.
“Our Government is open to new ideas and is determined to use the energy, entrepreneurship spirit and enterprise of the private industry in the defence sector,” Rajnath Singh said. He assured that the Government will make all efforts to remove any roadblocks and work together to achieve the goal of indigenisation and self-reliance in defence sector.
Rajnath Singh also listed out various reforms introduced by the Government under the ‘Make in India’ initiative to achieve $26 billion defence industry by 2025 and provide employment to 2-3 million people. “We wish to create an ecosystem that provides a platform to both public sector and private sector to work together and contribute to nation-building through their strengths and experiences,” he said.