Indian conglomerate Larsen &Toubro (L&T) and South Korean firm Hanwha Techwin (HTW) on Friday signed a contract for execution of the 155mm/ 52 Cal Tracked Self Propelled (SP) Gun programme for the Indian Army.
L&T was declared as the sole qualified bidder after user evaluation trials, based on the performance of the K9 VAJRA-T, a world class self-propelled howitzer appropriately customised and fielded by L&T with HTW as the technology partner.
The contract is the result of a nearly decade-long close relationship and joint efforts of the two companies on this programme, through extensive user evaluation and field trials followed by contract negotiations with the ministry of defence, a company release said.
The K9 VAJRA-T gun is an enhanced version of HTW's K9 Thunder, to suit specific requirements of the Indian Army, including desert operations.
HTW's K9 Thunder is one of the best performing self-propelled howitzers in the world with over 1,000 numbers already in service in Korea and a few other countries. This programme has set new benchmarks in co-development and co-production of defence systems by Indian private sector defence players and foreign majors, the release said.
Jayant Patil, head of defence and aerospace and member of heavy engineering board at L&T, said, ''This contract marks an important milestone in L&T's defence business journey and in our relationship with Hanwha Techwin. It will create synergies not only for this programme but also for upcoming Indian and global programmes.
''This also marks a giant step forward towards furthering the ''Make in India'' vision of the government of India. L&T plans to begin production of this vital weapon system at its Strategic Systems Complex at Talegaon ne
''L&T also has initiated setting up of a greenfield manufacturing line at Hazira, Gujarat, integral with a state-of- the-art test track, to produce, test and qualify the K9 VAJRA-T guns.''
L&T will not only manufacture K9 VAJRA-T in India, with over 50 per cent indigenous content, but also provide through-life support from India.