Major boost to army's firepower

Major boost to army's firepower

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat addressing the press.

Marking a major milestone towards capacity building and capability enhancement of the Indian Army, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday dedicated the globally combat proven M777 A2 ultra light Howitzers, K-9 Vajra-tracked self propelled guns and 6x6 field artillery tractors to the service of the nation.

The dedication ceremony was held at Devlali Field Firing Ranges in Nashik district and was attended by Minister of State for Defence Dr Subhash Bhamre, Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat and dignitaries from the governments of USA and South Korea.

Senior serving officers of the Indian Army and ministry of defence, representatives of manufacturing industries were also present, an official statement said.

"These guns are being inducted almost 30 years after the Bofors guns were inducted," Sitharaman said.

According to her, the induction of the new weapon systems would significantly enhance India's firepower in the western borders.

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.

The Howitzer is in service in the US, Canadian, Australian and some other armies of the world.  It has proven its mettle in the 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.

The balance 90 guns will be largely manufactured in India with some major assemblies coming from South Korea.

Its induction will give a huge fillip to the firepower capability of the army on the western borders.

The 6x6 field artillery tractor has been indigenously developed by Ashok Leyland and will provide the much awaited replacement for the ageing fleet of artillery gun towing vehicles.

Dedication of these equipment to the nation also give a major impetus to the ‘Make In India’ initiative.

The event included an impressive display of the equipment and firepower by the guns of the indian artillery.

Also on display were indigenous Gun Systems/Surveillance & Target Acquisition Systems that have been recently introduced in service.

“The Indian Army is receiving an extremely reliable and battle-proven artillery platform,” Joe Senftle, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ weapon systems business, said while attending the event.

“The M777 brings a new level of capability to the artillery unit by offering rapid deployment and extreme accuracy. It can operate in areas that are difficult to access and is also very easy to maintain.”

“This is a landmark event with the first M777s being delivered to the Indian Army. It is a product of our long-standing business partnership with BAE Systems,” said SP Shukla, group president— aerospace & defence sector, Mahindra group, and chairman— Mahindra Defence Systems.