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Army gets new grenades to replace World War 1-era ones; first time ammunition manufactured by private Indian industry

S N Nuwal, chairman of EEL, symbolically made the presentation of grenades to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a function organised at the sprawling 2,000-acre facility of the company near Nagpur.

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur |
Updated: August 25, 2021 8:21:03 am
Army gets new grenades to replace World War 1-era ones; first time ammunition manufactured by private Indian industryChief of Army Staff General M M Naravane, Chairman, DRDO, G Satheesh Reddy and Director General of Infantry Lt Gen A K Samantra were present on the occasion. (Representational)

In a first, Economic Explosives Limited (EEL), a Nagpur-based defence manufacturing company, handed over to the Indian Army the first batch of fully indigenously manufactured Multi-Mode Hand Grenades (MMHG) on Tuesday.

S N Nuwal, chairman of EEL, symbolically made the presentation of grenades to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at a function organised at the sprawling 2,000-acre facility of the company near Nagpur.

Addressing the gathering, Singh termed the handing over of MMHG a shining example of the increasing collaboration between the public and private sectors and a big step towards self-reliance in defence manufacturing.

“Today is a memorable day in the history of the Indian defence sector. Our private industry is coming of age when it comes to defence production. It is an important milestone not only in the field of defence manufacturing but also in achieving ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ as envisioned by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.

The Defence Minister lauded DRDO and EEL for the speedy delivery of the order amid Covid-19 restrictions and urged a faster delivery of the next lot.

This is the first instance of ammunition being manufactured by private industry in India.

EEL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Solar Industries India Limited, already commenced delivery of modern hand grenades to the Armed Forces last month. The first consignment of 1 lakh MMHG has, so far, been delivered.

Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane, Chairman, DRDO, G Satheesh Reddy and Director General of Infantry Lt Gen A K Samantra were present on the occasion.

EEL had signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence on October 1, 2020, to supply 10 lakh modern hand grenades to the Indian Army and Indian Air Force. The deliveries would be spread over two years.

These new grenades will replace Grenade No. 36 of World War I vintage design, which were in service till date.

“The MMHGs have a distinctive design giving flexibility of employment in both defensive (fragmentation) and offensive (stun) modes. They have highly accurate delay time, very high reliability in usage and are safe for carriage,” according to a Ministry of Defence press release.

The grenades have been designed by Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory of DRDO. EEL had taken the technology from DRDO in 2016.
Extensive trials were successfully undertaken by the Indian Army and DGQA in 2017-18 in plains, deserts and high altitude over summer and winter.

“Against a General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) requirement of 95 per cent reliability, the grenades manufactured by EEL had highly superior reliability of 99.8 per cent. The success of the MMHG story is further amplified by its use of 100 per cent indigenous content,” the release added.

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Singh listed measures undertaken to transform the defence sector into a self-reliant industry that can cater to the present and future needs of the Armed Forces. He spoke about setting up of Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, formulating draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020, earmarking 64 per cent of modernisation funds under the capital acquisition budget for 2021-22 for procurement from domestic companies, notifying two Positive Indigenisation Lists of over 200 defence items to promote self-reliance and defence exports, corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), increasing FDI limit from 49 to 74 per cent under automatic route and beyond 74 per cent through government route and according top priority to “buy indigenously designed, developed and manufactured” category for capital procurement.

Singh also spoke about the initiative of technology transfer to industries by DRDO, lauding the latter for “being an incubator undertaking free-of-cost transfer of technology as well as providing access to testing facilities and more than 450 patents”.

Singh commended the industry for indigenously developing products like Multi-Mode Grenade, Arjun-Mark-1 tank, Unmanned Surface Vehicle and See Through Armour. “Such products are not just being produced but exported on a large scale. The number of online export authorisations from 2016-17 to 2018-19 was 1,210. It has increased to 1,774 in the past two years. This has resulted in defence exports of more than Rs 17,000 crore in the past two years,” he added.

Singh also visited BrahMos Aerospace, a DRDO facility that manufactures BrahMos missiles, at Borkhedi near here.

Singh was also expected to visit the RSS headquarter to meet RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat but the visit didn’t happen.

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