For boosting Make in India initiative, the defence ministry has signed a MoU of Rs 5,000 crore to manufacture indigenous Pinaka multi barrel rocket launchers for the Army that will open the door for several job openings.
The contract will go to private sector companies L&T and Tata Aerospace and Defence, with a significant portion of work also falling into public sector unit BEML, which supplies the trucks for the rocket launchers.
The Pinaka program has been a home grown success story, with two regiments already in service and technology transfer successfully executed by DRDO to the private sector for manufacturing the systems as well as ammunition.
Out of the six new regiments, L&T has been awarded the contract to manufacture four while the balance two will be made by Tata Aerospace and Defence. This would be one of the largest orders placed on the private sector in India from the Army. ET had reported in May that the Pinaka program had been identified to be fast tracked, both to boost the private industry during the Covid 19 crisis and the utilise money saved from delays in delivery of weapon systems currently being imported.
As reported by ET, the first ever rockets fully manufactured by the private sector have also been successfully test fired by the Army this month. The Pinaka rockets were tested at a firing range in Pokharan and achieved the desired results by accurately hitting targets. The rockets have been manufactured by Economic Explosives Limited (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.
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. The Pinaka was developed by DRDO to replace imports from Russia for the BM 21 Grad multi barrel rocket launchers.