- In a major boost for Make in India, the first-ever rockets fully manufactured by the private sector have been successfully test-fired by the army, signaling that single source dependency on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) will soon be a thing of the past.
- The Pinaka rockets were tested at a firing range in Pokharan on Wednesday and achieved the desired results by accurately hitting targets. The rockets have been manufactured by the private sector after a technology transfer agreement with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- Sources said that six Pinaka rockets were test-fired as part of the final developmental trials. The rockets have been manufactured by Economic Explosives Ltd (EEL) and are the first munition of its kind made by the private sector in India. They are also a success story for DRDO that has been engaging with the private sector to transfer manufacturing technology for home developed systems.
- In the past, munitions of this class have either been imported or have been manufactured by the public sector, with repeated complaints of failure by the armed forces. As part of the Make in India drive and push for the private sector in defence manufacturing, the Pinaka technology was transferred five years ago, with a decision taken to split further orders evenly with OFB. The army has a large requirement for rockets of this class, which is pegged at over 1,000 units annually. The Pinaka is a home developed multi-barrel rocket launcher system that is already in service with the Indian Army. An order for two additional Pinaka regiments has been under process since 2017, which will be made by L&T and Tata Aerospace and Defence for an estimated Rs 4,500 cr.
- The armed forces have been looking at creating alternate sources for munitions to reduce dependency on OFB that has had a mixed track record. Industry estimates peg that privately manufactured munitions of different variety would cost 20-30% cheaper than the OFB fixed pricing.
- DRDO has also successfully tested an extended range guided Pinaka rocket that can hit targets at a distance of 75 km, a significant boost from the current range of 40 km.