SOURCE: Tribune News Service
Even as the government sets about to corporatise the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), the factories under the OFB have been producing modern weapons and equipment and modernising themselves.
Set up in 1775 by the British as the Board of Ordnance in Fort William, Kolkata, the OFB, among several other things, makes military trucks, artillery guns, specialised infantry combat vehicles, called the BMP, and also mine protected vehicles.
It is on the verge of starting production of the AK-203, an automatic rifle. The OFB also produces ammunition for almost all weapons of the Army.
There are 41 ordnance factories across the country under the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Some 23 of these have been set up after 1947.
Gagan Chaturvedi, Deputy Director General, Corporate Communications, OFB, says, “The ordnance factories today are vibrant and technologically dominant with the largest range of military products.”
The current level of indigenisation is over 90 per cent while in ammunition and related items it is 97 per cent. The indigenous products developed through R&D account for 25 per cent of total revenues of the ordnance factories, Chaturvedi added.
There have been export orders for ammunition and explosives. Successful indigenisation has also led to significant cost reduction. The indigenous T-90 engine is 30 per cent cheaper than the imported one.