Indian army received first K9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers and M777A2 howitzers

On 9 November 2018, the Indian Army took delivery of the first batch of ten K-9 Vajra 155 mm/52 caliber self-propelled tracked howitzers this month, along with other military hardware including two U.S.-made M777A2 155 mm/39 caliber towed howitzers.

Indian army received first K9 Vajra self propelled howitzers and M777 howitzers 2
K9 Vajra self-propelled howitzer (Picture source: Army Recognition)

An official induction ceremony for the first K-9 Vajra and M777A2 howitzers took place at Indian Army Artillery School, located in Deolali in Nashik district, Maharashtra, on November 9, in the presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Army Chief Bipin Rawat. South Korean company Samsung-Techwin, along with its local Indian private-sector partner Larsen & Toubro (L&T), signed a contract for the sale of 100 modified K-9 Vajras in May 2017. Induction of all 100 howitzers is expected to be completed by November 2020. The next 40 K-9 Vajras will be delivered in November 2019 with the last batch of 50 slated to be inducted by November 2020.

The Indian Army also took official delivery of the first M777A2 155 mm 39-caliber towed howitzers. Five howitzers were delivered to India for user trials in 2017 and 2018, respectively. In November 2016, India approved the purchase of 145 M777A2 howitzers from BAE Systems at an estimated cost of $750 million under the U.S. Department of Defense’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The Indian Army will stand up seven M777A2 regiments, with the first unit expected to be operational by the end of October 2019.

The development assumes critical importance especially in the backdrop of the fact that this is the first move to induct heavy artillery guns in the Indian Army since the Swedish Bofors guns were imported in the late 1980s. M777A2, the 155mm-calibre guns manufactured by BAE Systems are being acquired under the $737 million deal called Letter of Agreement and Acceptance (LoA) signed with the US in November 2016.