Successful User Trials for Indigenous Rockets Conducted by Army

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New Delhi: Over the past few weeks, enhanced range Pinaka rockets were test-fired at Balasore and Pokhran. During the trials, munitions manufactured by Nagpur-based Economic Explosives Limited (EEL) met all user requirements along with rockets made by state- owned Munitions India Limited (MIL).

The successful user trials for indigenously developed and manufactured rockets by the Army will lead to the progressive replacement of imports from Russia and open up opportunities for exports to friendly nations as well.

Considered to be a milestone for the private sector, the Army is now likely to go ahead with the procurement of these indigenous rockets, with the order being divided between EEL and MIL. The enhanced Pinakas have a range of over 45 km, up from legacy rockets that can strike targets at a range of 37 km. Over 120 rockets were test fired by the army to validate all technical requirements, according to the sources.

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These rockets have been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and it has shared the technology with the industry. In a first, the rockets produced by the private sector have been accepted for service, since defence manufacturing has been opened to non-governmental players. The army has a large requirement for rockets of this class, which is pegged at over 1,000 units annually.

The successful user trials showcased that the private sector can deliver. All it needs is continuous guidance of DRDO and hand-holding by the Army. In the past, munitions of this class have either been imported or have been manufactured by the public sector, which could never completely meet annual requirements of the armed forces.

The armed forces have been looking at creating alternate sources for munitions to reduce dependency on state owned units, according to media reports. As per Industry estimates, privately manufactured munitions of different varieties can be significantly cheaper than the price (fixed) offered by state owned entities.