Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke at the handing over ceremony of multi-mode hand grenades to the Indian Army in Nagpur on August 24. Singh said he hopes India will emerge as the defence manufacturing hub for the world. He appreciated the Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 and hailed the Public-Private sector Partnership in defence. The grenades were manufactured at the company Economic Explosives Limited (EEL).


Bring prices of grenades at par with private Nagpur corporations: Government to OFB


NAGPUR: In what may be one of the first steps towards conversion into a public corporation, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has been asked by the government to bring prices of its hand grenades at par with that offered by Nagpur’s Solar Group. Once a corporation, the ordnance factories will have to compete with private sector in supplying armament to defence forces.


The ordnance factories unxs have called for an indefinite strike against corporatization. Solar Group is the first-ever private company to have bagged an order to make this product. Economic Explosives Limited (EEL), the 100% subsidiary of the group, has got an order to make 10 lakh multimodal hand grenades for the Army. The first batch is expected to be despatched soon.


The multimodal grenades will be replacing the World War II M36 hand grenades. Grenades are among the last resorts of defence for soldiers during combat. The new grenades, which have better accuracy and lethality, can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes.


The grenades were developed by ordnance factory at Khamaria at Jabalpur and EEL, based on DRDO technology. Even as EEL got the order, passing Army’s clearance process was took time for OFB.

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After technical aspects were cleared, the OFB was lately asked to match the price with Solar Group, which the former has agreed to and responded accordingly. This will bring down the price offered by OFB by Rs1,500-odd. Each grenade has been priced in the range of Rs3,500 to Rs4,000, said sources.


With OFB also agreeing to bring down the rates, a bulk order from the Army is finally expected soon, said a source.


Earlier, the OFB was also asked to first prove shelf life of the grenade which is supposed to be at least 15 years. It had responded that under the intensive shelf life assessment (ISA) method as recommended by Army’s directorate general of quality assurance (DGQA), it would take around two years for the process. Till then the order would have to be held up.


On the other hand, Solar Group has gone with the faster Isothermal Micro Calometry method, which was used the first time in the country. However, it is used by NATO countries and takes four months to give results.


Now, the OFB’s stance has been accepted and shelf life testing will begin as soon as the first batch is delivered. With this, bulk production and shelf life testing will go on simultaneously. OFB has insisted that ISA is the only method in its protocol as it has to go by DGQA’s norms.


It has taken a decade for the project in which EEL had emerged as the sole qualifying company for taking part in bids. In August 2019, the request for proposal (RFP) document was amended easing the norms for timings to generate an explosion. The relaxation applied for 10% of the batch.


Both EEL and OFB had denied of having needed any relaxation saying that their grenades had met full accuracy.

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