Aatmanirbhar Bharat gets a big push in defence sector

by Editorial

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ got a big push, with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launching scores of products developed by defence PSUs and OFB on Sunday.

 The Defence Minister launched four products each by Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) and Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), two by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and one each by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Mazgaon Dockyard Limited (MDL), Garden Reach Ship Builders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE) and Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL), developed by respective Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs)/OFB as part of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary Defence Production Mr. Raj Kumar and senior officers from Department of Defence Production (DDP) were present on the occasion. CMDs of DPSUs and Chairman OFB participated in the event through video conference links.

Addressing on the occasion, Rajnath Singh said “Self-reliance in defence manufacturing is one of the key objectives of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Abhyaan’. He expressed confidence that the drive for ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ to realise the goal of self-reliance would give the necessary impetus to India’s defence production. “The concerted efforts being put in by Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, to streamline the procurement procedures, production policies and indigenization initiatives would assuredly lead to the development and manufacture of indigenous defence products bringing down our dependence on imports thereby restricting outflow of Foreign exchange, encourage development of domestic Industry, insulate India from external pressure and ensure lifetime spares and service support to the defence equipment,” he added.

Referring to corporatization of OFB, Rajnath Singh said “if government owned defence industries are to compete at national and international level, then the outdated practices will have to be done away with. We need to have modern management techniques, technology infusion and collaborative efforts to help aid the state defence industries serve the country efficiently. With this purpose, the government has initiated steps towards corporatisation of OFB. I am sure this step will not only help do away with the constraints of controlled pricing, but will also infuse corporate management practices and efficient systems. I understand that it will be a challenge for OFB to reinvent itself but I hope they will succeed in it.”

Among the products launched today included the prototype of Nag Missile Carrier (NAMICA) developed by Ordnance Factory Medak in association with DRDL, Hyderabad. NAMICA has the potential for import substitution to the tune of Rs. 260 Cr in the first phase, which may go upto more than Rs 3000 Cr. The other products of Ordnance Factory Board such as the fully indigenous 14.5 mm Anti Material Rifle being manufactured with the existing facilities at Ordnance Factory Trichy, the upgraded Commander’s Thermal Imager Cum Day Sight for T90 Main Battle Tank and the prototype of 8.6×70 mm Sniper developed by Rifle Factory Ishapore for engaging long range targets, were also launched.

Raksha Mantri appreciated BEML for the products launched today saying their endeavours towards indigenization and reduction in imports are impressive. He said “The 150 Ton payload capacity Dump Truck, one of the biggest Electric Mining Dump Trucks, and Super Giant Mining Excavator of 180 Ton Capacity, both indigenously designed and manufactured with cost benefit of over 20% than the imported equipment and with expected foreign exchange savings of Rs. 1500 Crs and Rs 220 crore respectively are true ‘aatmanirbhar’ products.” He added “GAUR, the BEML Medium Bullet Proof Vehicle built on a high mobility chassis, with impressive features and customizable protection levels and custom-built Heliport-able 100 HP Dozer, with very high indigenization levels of 85 % and 94% respectively, are remarkable products.”

The roll out of the 150th Do-228 aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, HAL, is a milestone in the indigenous manufacture of the proven platform. The christening of the 150th aircraft as IN-259 and customising it as a dedicated platform for Indian Navy in the Maritime Reconnaissance & Intelligence Warfare role is a true reflection of the technical prowess of HAL. Further, HAL and IISc have joined hands to establish a Skill Development Center at IISc’s Challakere campus in Karnataka. The goal of this Center is to create a model facility that would provide skill development programmes for various beneficiaries ranging from local community members to high-end engineering professionals in line with the Make in India mission.

The Linear Variable Differential Transducer fully designed and developed by BEL, which is critical to attain accuracy & precision in guiding and seeking the target, and the launch of 1kW Transmitter Aerial Switching Rack which is an import substitution for HF Aerial switching Unit, for providing better long-term support to Indian Navy, are genuine indigenized products. The Konkurs Launchers Test Equipment designed and developed by Bharat Dynamics Limited, BDL, to check the complete functionality of Konkurs Launcher replacing the earlier imported system from Russia will save foreign exchange of US $ 17.7 Million.Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited, GRSE’s design and development of the Portable Pedestrian (Assault) Bridge, first of its kind made of Carbon Fibre Polymer Composite Material, to meet the requirements of the Indian Army is a genuine ‘aatmanirbhar product’. The indigenous development of Gearbox for the Indian Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessels project by GSL is a success story not only in Self-reliance but also in partnering with a private company, resulting in saving of Rs 37.50 Cr for 5 ship sets due to Indigenization. Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle by MDL which has completed laboratory trials commences its Field Evaluation Trials at Chennai today.

 The minister unveiled these products by pressing a remote button. He congratulated the Management and Employees of DPSUs and Ordnance factories for their effort in churning out the indigenised products and applaud their commitment towards the cause of ‘aatmanirbharta’. Rajnath Singh specially congratulated Secretary, Defence Production and his team for the initiative taken to celebrate ‘aatmanirbharta’. He said “The impressive list of indigenous products and new products which have been launched today, gives me confidence that the DPSUs and Ordnance Factories would be the prime drivers of the ‘Aatmanirbhar Abhyaan’ and contribute immeasurably to the cause of national security and self-reliance.” He further added “some of the products launched today will not only cater to the needs of defence sector but will also be useful for the civil society when needed. DPSUs and Ordnance Factories are national facilities, created and strengthened over a long period of time and have considerable technical prowess and capacity. They also have well-structured R&D and testing facilities and manufacturing capability which should be fully used for indigenous design, development and manufacturing.”

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