HomeIndian DefenceLok Sabha Elections 2024: India's Make-in-India defence projects, include K-9 Vajra Howitzers...

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: India’s Make-in-India defence projects, include K-9 Vajra Howitzers and fighter jet engines, await post-election approval

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Several key ‘Made in India’ defence projects, including proposals for acquiring more K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers and fighter aircraft engines, are awaiting final approval by the Centre after the elections. These deals, originally slated for approval in March, were postponed for decision until after the elections. A defence official informed ANI that “K-9 Vajra howitzers, engines for the Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft, and several research and development projects are on the agenda for the Cabinet Committee on Security.”

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is set to play a significant role in producing these engines, valued at around Rs 20,000 crore. HAL currently manufactures these engines for the Su-30 MKI combat aircraft at its Koraput facility in Odisha, which boasts a high level of indigenisation.

The Indian Air Force routinely acquires these engines for its planes, but due to the pandemic and other global developments, requirements have increased, necessitating a final decision post-elections. The Centre is also expected to review the proposal to purchase 100 more K-9 Vajra SP howitzers, in response to the Indian Army’s request.

Originally introduced to fulfill requirements in the plains and desert regions, these howitzers have proven effective in the Ladakh sector. Additionally, several defence research and development programmes by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) await government clearance and final approval.

Prior to the imposition of the model code of conduct, the Centre had already approved projects to purchase 61 close-in weapon systems and High Powered Radars. The Defence Ministry, along with the Army, Navy, and Indian Coast Guard, has submitted proposals to the government for inclusion in the 100-day and 6-month agendas.

Senior government officials have indicated that work on these projects will commence soon after the conclusion of the election process. Furthermore, large indigenous deals, such as the Rs 65,000 crore 97 LCA Mark 1A aircraft programme, are progressing steadily.Understanding K9-Vajra
The K9 Vajra is a 155 mm, 52-calibre tracked self-propelled howitzer developed in India by Larsen & Toubro (L&T), leveraging technology from South Korean defence major Hanwha Defense based on its K9 Thunder platform. Initially intended for desert operations, the K9 Vajra was deployed in mountainous regions following the India-China standoff. To ensure optimal performance in extreme cold, the Army procured winterisation kits for the deployed regiments.

Hanwha Aerospace, a South Korean defence and aerospace conglomerate, entered India with its flagship self-propelled howitzer (SPH)โ€”K-9 Vajra, in partnership with L&T. This collaboration has been praised for its timely delivery and technology transfer. Hanwha is now looking to offer more advanced systems and military platforms to India, building upon this successful partnership.

(With inputs from ANI)

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