New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the performance of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and Defence Public Sector Undertakings – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) here today. The officials of OFB, HAL, BEL, BEML and BDL gave presentations on their ongoing and future projects to Defence Minister Singh and senior officials of Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence.
While expressing satisfaction at the overall achievements of OFB and these DPSUs, Rajnath Singh urged them to strive further to increase their competitiveness in the global market. Lauding the indigenisation efforts, he called upon the officials to identify more ‘Make in India’ avenues and help in making India self-reliant in defence production. The Defence Minister also urged officials to explore new modes of business models, focusing on increased defence exports. He expressed hope that the DPSUs will play a pivotal role in making India a global manufacturing hub as well as net exporter.
Headquartered in Kolkata, OFB produces state-of-the-art battlefield equipment, ammunitions, and other military hardware for the armed forces and strives to modernise the production facilities, besides training the personnel. With a focus on indigenisation, the OFB has filed 246 Intellectual Property Rights applications. 42 R&D centres with specific technological domains have been set up with project-based collaborations with IITs, NITs and IISc. Development of futuristic technologies with Indian private industries through iDex platform is one of the focus areas of OFB.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated in a Press communication that HAL has consistently performed well in the last five years on several fronts including operations and finance. The company has achieved operational clearance on seven platform: Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Advanced Light Helicopter – Weapon System Integrated named as Rudra, 19-seater Do-228 civil Aircraft, Jaguar Darin III and the Mirage Upgrade.
In the last five years, two new platforms commenced on overhauling of Hawk and Su-30 MkI. Till January 2020, the company overhauled 21 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers and 45 Su-30 MKIs. HAL achieved successful integration of BrahMos and Astra missiles on SU-30 MkI aircraft enabling the successful test firing.
The MoD stated that BEL has successfully implemented projects of strategic importance such as Weapon Locating Radar for the Indian Army, Akash Missile System, Coastal Surveillance System for the Coast Guard, etc. The company has in the recent past successfully indigenised several products and systems including Akash Missile System (6 Squadrons), Low Level Light Weight Radar (Aslesha), Weapon Locating Radar, Ground Based Mobile Elint System, Central Acquisition Radar (Revathi), Coastal Surveillance System, etc. The company recorded an Export Turnover of $21.6 million in 2018-19. The major countries to which BEL exported its products were Switzerland, USA, France, Germany, Israel, Sweden, Finland, Seychelles, Mauritius, Vietnam and SEZs.
The Ministry also stated that BDL has grown into a multi-product, multi-customer, multi-located enterprise producing defence equipment meeting international quality standards. BDL is the lead integrator of the Akash Weapon System (AWS). Akash has 96% of material sourced from within the country, making the project an example of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
BDL is also the production agency for the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM). BDL signed a contract worth Rs 1,188 crore for supply of Varunastra, or the Heavy Weight Torpedo, to the Indian Navy. Varunastra has been designed and developed by DRDO and manufactured by BDL. Amogha – III, a third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile designed and developed by the in-house R&D of BDL with the support of DRDO was launched during DefExpo 2020.
The MoD futher stated that BEML, through the ‘Make in India’ initiative, for the first time has designed & developed the biggest eco-friendly electrical excavator of 180 tonne capacity, and biggest electric drive dump trucks of 150 tonne & 190 tonne capacities, which serve as import substitution and help promote the cause of green mining and would save foreign exchange. The 180 tonne Electrical Excavator received the Defence Minister’s Excellence Award under Design Effort category. The products designed and developed by BEML include Arjun Armoured Repair & Recovery vehicle (ARRV), biggest-ever 850 HP bulldozer, Stainless Steel Electric Multiple Unit, metro cars for Bangalore & Kolkata Metro Corporations, self-propelled eight-wheeler Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DETC) and unattended train operation (UTO) metro cars for Mumbai Metro.
BEML gave a major thrust to self-reliance and achieved indigenisation levels of over 90% in the mainline mining and construction products, rail coaches, and EMUs; over 80% in High Mobility Vehicles (HMV); and over 65% in metro cars. BEML is also working towards the ‘zero import’ policy of the Government to reach higher levels of indigenisation, the MoD concluded.