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L&T Pioneers Advancements in Indigenous Military Technology and Future Defense Innovation

© ARUN SANKARWorkers give final checks to the Indian Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel 'Vajra' during the launch ceremony at the Larsen & Toubro shipyard on outskirts of Chennai on February 27, 2020.
Workers give final checks to the Indian Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel 'Vajra' during the launch ceremony at the Larsen & Toubro shipyard on outskirts of Chennai on February 27, 2020. - Sputnik India, 1920, 22.02.2024
The Indian multinational has partnered with foreign firms for certain systems and sub-systems, with collaborations on Hanwha for K9 Vajra, MBDA for ATGMs, and Elta for high power radars, said Arun Ramchandani, executive vice president and head of L&T Defence.
Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has accomplished the ambitious goal of developing the indigenous Zoravar light tank within just 24 months, said Arun Ramchandani, executive vice president and head of Larsen & Toubro Defence.
Ramchandani emphasized that the firm has spearheaded several cutting-edge projects in the high-tech realm, including:
Pinaka multi-barrel artillery rocket launcher,
K9 Vajra self-propelled howitzer,
Zoravar light tank,
Brahmos universal vertical launch mount,
Fire control solutions for ships,
Sudarshan close-in weapon system,
Torpedo weapon complex for submarines,
46m mobile and deployable modular bridging system for 70-ton load class, Steering Gear,
Steering gear for warships.

A testament to their commitment to innovation, "the development pace of projects such as the Zoravar light tank in just 24 months has set a benchmark. Before this achievement, the K-9 Vajra, a self-propelled howitzer, showcased the company's dedication to advancing military platforms," he noted.

Ramchandani highlighted that more equipment is in the pipeline and L&T prefers to gauge success through customer satisfaction.
In the current dynamic era, Ramchandani pointed out that, “India has consistently maintained a defensive stance amid regional unrest. Recognizing the need for deterrent measures, L&T’s portfolio primarily comprises platforms with a deterrent nature rather than being overtly offensive."

From System Developers to Platform Innovators

Despite starting as a system developer, Ramchandani highlighted that “L&T has evolved into developers and manufacturers of entire platforms. Notably, our journey has been characterized by indigenous efforts, with reliance on foreign technology limited to specific parts necessitated by low volumes or recent high-tech advancements.”
Regarding the advancements L&T has brought to the Indian defense sector, Ramchandani specified that “the catalog is extensive, but to mention a select few: High precision weapon launch platforms, stabilized weapon and sensor mounts on naval platforms, developing close-in air defense solutions, precision tracking radars, combat engineering equipment, naval engineering equipment, [and] submarine hull manufacturing technologies."

“L&T's naval platforms are in growing demand both domestically and internationally, and despite facing competition from established players, we have experienced significant achievements by capitalizing on the efficiency and agility of the private sector. In terms of innovative technologies developed by our company, notable examples encompass autonomous underwater vehicles, directed energy weapon mounts, fire control tracking radars, and air-independent propulsion systems for submarines,” he noted.

Navigating Evolving Warfare, International Collaborations & Future Defense

As the nature of warfare rapidly transforms into a mosaic scenario, Ramchandani emphasized that “Organizations such as ours will increasingly be sought by foreign entities for collaborations, enabling them to adapt swiftly to this dynamic environment. This trend is already noticeable in the Space domain, and the defense and aerospace sector will likely follow suit. It's important to note that our choices in collaborations align with the Indian philosophy of not contributing to ongoing conflicts but focusing on preserving peace.”

For our domestic needs, according to Ramchandani, “L&T has partnered with foreign entities for certain systems and sub-systems due to the relatively lower volumes, which didn't justify the expenditure on research and development and manufacturing in India for those items. Some examples include collaborations with Hanwha for K9 Vajra, MBDA for ATGMs, and Elta for High Power Radars.”

In the foreseeable future, L&T outlined a few focal points in the indigenous military arena such as “advanced armored platforms, Space launch vehicle and satellite technologies and services, and counter-drone systems” which is indicative of its strategic direction and dedication to innovation in the defense sector.
“Our team initiated work and successfully addressed intricate challenges in the civilian, military, and Space sectors at a time when computers and even scientific calculators were not accessible in the country. Moreover, there were constraints on importing software. This history speaks volumes about our fundamental engineering capabilities,” he stated.
Zorawar, Indian light tank  - Sputnik India, 1920, 11.04.2023
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