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Indian Army likely to get K9 Vajra-T howitzers

By Ryan Maass   |   Jan. 11, 2016 at 11:39 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- The Indian Army is likely to acquire the K9 Vajra-T howitzer, a Larsen & Toubro modification of Samsung Techwin's K-9 Thunder.

Ministry sources told The Indian Express the procurement has moved into a price negotiation phase, which will commence this month and likely be concluded later in the fiscal year.

The K9 Vajra-T, a 155mm/52-caliber self-propelled artillery weapon, completed its evaluation by the Indian defense ministry in September 2015. The Larsen-Samsung team's entry beat the 2S19 MSTA howitzer put forward by Russia's Rosoboronexport.

The deal will reportedly include 100 guns, at the estimated cost of between $706.5 to $785 million. The Indian Defense Ministry's contract with L&T also includes a follow-up option for an additional 50 K9 Vajra-T guns.

Despite the bids for the weapon being made under the "Buy Global" provision of the defense ministry's procurement procedure, the K9 Vajra-T will be manufactured at L&T's Talegaon plant, located near Pune.

When the purchase is finalized, the exchange will mark the first howitzers to be inducted into India's Army after the procurement of Bofors 155mm guns nearly 30 years ago.

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