Thursday, 1 December 2016

As LoC heats up, army contracts for two rocket regiments from L&T, Tata Power



By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 2nd Dec 16

With tensions escalating on the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan, the ministry of defence (MoD) has bought two regiments of the indigenous Pinaka multi-barrelled rocket launcher (MBRL) for Rs 3,230 crore.

Each Pinaka regiment, consisting of 18 multi-barrelled launchers, can pulverize a target with a hail of 216 rockets, fired in 44 seconds, catching enemy troops in the open with no time to take cover. It can be fired from 38 kilometres away, allowing commanders to target a terrorist camp, or even an army post or headquarters, without risking sending soldiers across the LoC.

On Wednesday, the MoD signed separate Rs 226 crore contracts with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division), the designated “original equipment manufacturers” (OEMs) for the Pinaka.

This is the first project where private Indian companies are designated OEMs, a role traditionally reserved for “defence public sector undertakings” and the MoD-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). While L&T and Tata Power (SED) have just 14 per cent of the work share, it includes developing and building the heart of the Pinaka --- the command post and launcher --- and the coveted OEM role.

Even so, 86 per cent of the overall payment will goes to a range of suppliers, including Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML) for the Tatra high-mobility vehicles on which the Pinaka is mounted, and the OFB, which builds the actual rockets.

L&T and Tata Power (SED) have already supplied two Pinaka regiments from 2006 to 2010. Now they will build the army’s third and fourth regiments.

Their role is set to grow, with six more regiments in the pipeline. Last December, the MoD kicked off the procurement of six more Pinaka regiments for Rs 14,600 crore. L&T and Tata Power (SED) officials say a tender is expected soon.

With the Pinaka Mark I validated, the MoD told parliament on April 26 that the DRDO was developing a longer-range, Mark II version of the Pinaka MBRL.

Business Standard learned on a visit to the Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) --- the DRDO laboratory that is developing the Mark II --- that the improved version will be able to strike targets as far as 60-70 kilometres. This will involve fitting each rocket with inertial navigation system guidance.

With the army looking to eventually induct 22 regiments of Pinaka in place of the obsolescent Russian GRAD BM-21, there could be 12 Pinaka Mark II regiments procured, in addition to ten Mark I regiments.

Beyond that, say L&T and Tata Power officials, the affordable Pinaka system offers great scope for export. Says Rahul Chaudhary, who heads Tata Power (SED): “Pinaka is a fully indigenous weapon with 100 per cent of its intellectual property belonging to India. That means we can export the system to any country that the government of India wants. In today’s export market, the Pinaka is one of the most competitive options.”

To meet export orders, the MoD will have to overcome the delays that dogged the Pinaka’s induction. Cost negotiations for the latest two-regiment order were completed in 2011. It has taken five years after that to actually place the order.

There is even greater tardiness in the OFB’s production of Pinaka rockets. Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence revealed in its report of December 22, 2014 that the OFB has failed to augment production of Pinaka rockets from 1,000 per year to 5,000 per year, scheduled for 2017, for which it had been allocated Rs 1,388 crore. The standing committee observed: “This shows sheer callousness on the part of the Ordnance Factory Board.”

Now, however, the private sector could be involved in fabricating Pinaka rockets at the faster rate needed. Last month, as reported by Business Standard, the army initiated the induction of private defence companies in fabricating ammunition. In the list of ammunition that private firms were invited to build were rockets for GRAD BM-51 MBRLs. With the Pinaka replacing that legacy system, its rockets could eventually feature on the private sector menu.

11 comments:

Jean Luc Picard said...

Dear Editor,

Great Going. Im thoroughly enjoying the wide range of topics that you are focusing on.

Would like to have some more related to Military reforms, Such as

- reforming the Corps of Military Police.
- You had spoken about reforms in Infantry training and role, in your earlier articles. Kindly elaborate.
- a piece on armour coming from you would also be nice.

Any thing, not necessarily acquisition related.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

The Indian designed Pinaka comes with 12 barrels, on the other hand the Russian BM-21 currently in service with India has 40 barrels. This is another example of the shrunken mentality of Indian design principle. Other examples include, 3 vs 6 numbers of mounted surface to air missiles such as Astra, 16 vs 32 Brahmos-like missiles on destroyers etc.. It will be better for India to develop expansive thinking, higher confidence and start going for more. The country is gradually moving past the technology demonstrator mindset, but the pace is still slow.

Anonymous said...

I think you mean Akash not Astra. Astra is a BVRM not a SAM.

Alok Asthana said...

Good stuff, indeed. However, this is no medicine for the way LOC is hotting up. The patient is dying for want of personal weapons/equipment e.g night vision, different types of small surveillance pieces, light weapons with higher calibre, rate of fire and precision, good fast demolition sets, secure communications, protective gear etc. Don't think even the Infantry is asking for these. They have got used to accepting casualties. Have lost all elan.
Pak will allow us to move to conventional war only if it is mad. And, it is not.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting discussion facilitated by Ajai sir. Indeed, he is going great work, compared to the ravings of ratshakers (who populate bharat ratshak) who are constantly criticising Mr. Shukla.

Anonymous said...

The rocket artillery is not of much use in the mountains in this kind of "no war no peace".
What indian army needs is modern personal protection gear like BPJ, Lighter helmets, night vision goggles, better rifles (replacing agimg ak-47).
The bases and camps need modern surveillance equipment . The troops moving around need bullet proof trucks and busses.

When will this happen ?

KUNAL BISWAS said...

The only solution to LOC which is presently feasible is to spend after Infantry modernisation and related infrastructure and training / education with it, Best not confuse with, The solution call 'Import'.

KUNAL BISWAS said...

To Anonymous 2 December 2016 at 06:45, What you missed is the diameter of warhead that pinaka rocket use, The amount of HE per Kg of Pinaka`s 12 rocket of 214mm diameter warheads is more than that of BM-21`s 40 rockets of 122mm diameter warheads.

Anonymous said...

[b]The following comments in the Article may need further verification:-[/b]

[i]With the Pinaka Mark I validated, the MoD told parliament on April 26 that the DRDO was developing a longer-range, Mark II version of the Pinaka MBRL.

Business Standard learned on a visit to the Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) --- the DRDO laboratory that is developing the Mark II --- that the improved version will be able to strike targets as far as 60-70 kilometers. This will involve fitting each rocket with inertial navigation system guidance.

With the army looking to eventually induct 22 regiments of Pinaka in place of the obsolescent Russian GRAD BM-21, there could be 12 Pinaka Mark II regiments procured, in addition to ten Mark I regiments.[/i]

I thought that:-

Pinaka 2 is already developed and 3rd and 4th Regiments will be Pinaka-2. The primary difference is that (unguided) Pinaka 2 is One foot longer Rocket which gives it a range of 65+km range.

While the guided version of Pinaka-2 is still under-development and will have an INS/GPS system with guidance vanes in its nose. This will also increase the range to 80-90km.

Broadsword said...

@Anonymous 17:44

You're suggesting that the defence minister lied to parliament on April 26?

And that, the Defence Acquisition Council did not know whether it was clearing the Pinaka 1 or the Pinaka 2?

And that the DRDO and the industry partners who will be making the two regiments of Pinaka 1, are not clear about which Mark of Pinaka they are making?

Think before posting please!

Anonymous said...

Nobody is claiming anyone lied or that you are intentionally making a mistake. Why don't you post the minutes of DAC meeting or the text of your interviews (if those are public information) so that we can judge the contents? The point is, did you correctly interpret the information given to you?