INDIA. Mumbai: The first batch of Multi-Mode Hand Grenades (MMHG), manufactured by the Nagpur-based Economic Explosives Limited (EEL), was handed over to the Indian Army in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in a function held in Nagpur, Maharashtra on Tuesday.
The Multi-Mode Hand Grenades (MMHG), are being manufactured by EEL, following Transfer of Technology from Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) to EEL.
On the occasion EEL, Chairman S N Nuwal handed over a scale replica of MMHG to Rajnath Singh, to mark the first delivery of ammunition from the private sector. Chief of the Army Staff General M M Naravane, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr. G Satheesh Reddy and DG Infantry Lt Gen A K Samantha were among those present.
The grenade is not just more lethal but is safer to use. It has a distinctive design that gives the flexibility of employment in both defensives (fragmentation) and offensive (stun) modes. It has a highly accurate delay time, very high reliability in usage, and safe for carriage. These new grenades will replace Grenade No 36 of World War I vintage design, which had been continuing in service to date.
The EEL had signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence on October 01, 2020, to supply 10 lakh modern hand grenades for the Indian Army and Indian Air Force. The deliveries would be spread over two years from the bulk production clearance, which was accorded to EEL in March 2021. The first order has been delivered within five months.
The EEL had taken the technology from DRDO in 2016, absorbed it successfully while maintaining very high quality in detonics. Extensive trials were successfully undertaken by the Indian Army and Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) in 2017-18 in plains, deserts, and high altitudes over summer and winter.
Addressing the gathering, Rajnath Singh termed the handing over of MMHG as 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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said and lauded DRDO & EEL for the speedy delivery of the order amidst COVID-19 restrictions and hoped of faster delivery of the next lot.
The Defence Minister listed out the measures undertaken by the Government to transform the defence sector into a self-reliant industry that can cater to the present and the future needs of the Armed Forces. These include setting up of Defence Industrial Corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu; formulation of draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020; earmarking around 64 percent of its modernization funds under capital acquisition budget for 2021-22 for procurement from domestic companies.
He made special mention of another initiative taken by the Government, i.e., Technology Transfer to Industries by DRDO. He lauded DRDO for being an incubator that is undertaking free of cost transfer of technologies as well as providing access to testing facilities. This has not only enabled the Industry to use ready-to-use technologies but has also saved time, energy, and money, he said.
Singh also underlined the importance of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) saying that it aims to achieve self-reliance and foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace sectors by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes, and academia. Under this initiative, the problems being faced by the Armed Forces, Defence Public Sector Undertakings, and OFB are identified and brought before entrepreneurs, MSMEs, start-ups, and innovators through Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) to find solutions.
He commended the industry for indigenously developing products like ‘Multi-Mode Grenade’, ‘Arjun-Mark-1’ tank, ‘Unmanned Surface Vehicle’ and ‘See-Through Armor’. “Such products are not just being produced but exported on a large scale. The number of online export authorizations which was 1210 during 2016-17 to 2018-19 was increased to 1,774 in the last two years. This has resulted in defence exports of over Rs 17,000 crore in the last two years,” he added. He exuded confidence that soon India will manufacture defence products not just for domestic use, but for the whole world.