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Army gets new artillery guns; K9 Vajra, M-777 howitzers inducted

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    New Delhi, Nov 9: In what would significantly bolster India's attacking capability, the Indian Army on Friday (November 9) inducted three major artillery gun systems, including the M777 A2 Ultra Light Howitzers, K-9 Vajra self-propelled gun and a 'Composite Gun Towing Vehicle'. 

    This is the first major induction since the Bofors were inducted in the 1980s. While M777 howitzers are US-made light weight guns, the K9 Vajras are South Korea-made self-propelled artillery guns.

    The 155mm, 39 calibre Ultra light Howitzers have been procured from USA under Government to Government Foreign Military Sales and will be assembled in India by BAE Systems in partnership with Mahindra Defence. The gun system is versatile, light weight and can be heli-lifted, thereby providing the much-needed flexibility in deployment in various terrains. It is in service in the US, Canadian, Australian and some other armies and has proven its mettle in difficult areas of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The first ten K9 Vajra 155mm/52 calibre guns have been imported from Hanwha Techwin of South Korea in semi-knocked down state and have been assembled by L&T in India.

    About M777 howitzer guns:

    M777 Howitzer gun fires in the air

    M777 Howitzer gun fires in the air

    TheM777howitzeris a towed155 mmartillerypiece. It succeeded theM198 howitzerin theUnited States Marine CorpsandUnited States Armyin 2005. The M777 is also used by the ground forces ofAustralia,Canada,IndiaandSaudi Arabia. It made its combat debut in theWar in Afghanistan.

    Ceremony at Deolali artillery centre, in Nashik

    Ceremony at Deolali artillery centre, in Nashik

    The M777 is manufactured byBAE Systems'Global Combat Systemsdivision. Prime contract management is based inBarrow-in-Furnessin the United Kingdom as well asmanufactureand assembly of the titanium structures and associated recoil components. Final integration and testing of the weapon is undertaken at BAE's facility inHattiesburg, Mississippi.

    Formal induction of three major artillery gun systems

    Formal induction of three major artillery gun systems

    With a weight of 4,200kg (9,300lb), the M777 is 41% lighter than the 7,154kg (15,772lb) M198 howitzer it replaces.Much of the weight reduction is due to the extensive use oftitanium.The M777 can be transported by helicoptersling-load,transporter aircraftsuch as theC-130, or towed by air-braked vehicles weighing over 2.5 tonnes (2.8 short tons), such as theFMTVandMTVR. The minimal gun crew required is five, compared to a previous nine.

    K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun

    K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun

    The M777 uses a digitalfire-control systemsimilar to that found on self-propelled howitzers such as theM109A6 Paladinto provide navigation, pointing and self-location, allowing it to be put into action quickly.

    The Canadian M777 in conjunction with the traditional "glass and iron sights/mounts" also uses a digital fire control system called the Digital Gun Management System (DGMS) produced byLeonardo MWwith components of the Indirect Fire Control Software Suite (IFCSS) built by the Firepower team in the Canadian Army Land Software Engineering Centre.TheLeonardo MWportion of the system, known as LINAPS, had been proven previously through earlier fielding on theBritish ArmyRoyal Artillery'sL118 Light Gun.

    About K9 Vajra:

    The K9 VAJRA-T 155mm/ 52 is a tracked self-propelled howitzer, which has its roots in the K9 Thunder, the mainstay of the South Korean Army. The Vajra offers a high rate of fire at a long range and is compatible with Indian and standard NATO ammunition. 

    The primary weapon of the K9 Thunder platform is the 155mm / 52 calibre gun. While the weapon platform has the ability to fire a standard M107 high-explosive (HE) projectile, no word is out about India specific changes, or if any have been made. 

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