NEW DELHI --- The Army has sounded the alarm over the unacceptably high number of accidents taking place in the field due to the poor and defective quality of ammunition being supplied for tanks, artillery, air defence and other guns by the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board+ (OFB).
The Army has told the defence ministry (MoD) that the spike in ammunition-related accidents is causing “fatalities, injuries and damage to equipment” at an alarming rate. This, in turn, is “leading to the Army’s loss of confidence in most types of ammunition” being manufactured by OFB, said sources.
MoD sources said the Army has raised with Secretary (Defence Production), Ajay Kumar, the “serious concerns” about the lack of requisite “quality control and quality assurance” by OFB, which with 41 factories and an annual turnover of about Rs 19,000 crore is the main source of supply of arms and ammunition to the over 12-lakh strong force. “Any drop in the quality of OFB products has major operational ramifications on the country’s war-waging potential,” said a source.
The red alert has led to “an urgent collaborative effort” between the Army and MoD’s department of defence production to improve the functioning of OFB, with Kumar also asking the force to submit “a paper” about different problems with the ammunition.
The 15-page paper presents an extremely grim picture. It says “regular accidents” are occurring with 105mm Indian field guns, 105mm light field guns, 130mm MA1 medium guns, 40mm L-70 air defence guns as well as the main guns of the T-72, T-90 and Arjun main-battle tanks, with some “isolated cases” also being reported from the 155mm Bofors guns, due to defective ammunition. (end of excerpt)
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