New Delhi: Filling up a critical gap in the ammunition stock, the Indian Army recently procured ammunition worth over Rs 11,000 crore in a bid to boost its capabilities.
This is part of a roadmap that is being followed after the Army’s internal review revealed serious deficits.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has also pointed out in its recent report on Army and Ordnance Factories that 40 per cent of the ammunition will not last beyond 10 days, and only 20 per cent can meet the authorised standards of 40 days.
“There is adequate stock of ammunition with the Indian Army, and it is well equipped for meeting any operational requirements,” Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a written reply in the Parliament on Monday. He added that 19 contracts worth Rs 11,739 crore were finalised recently.
Sources said most of the contracts are related to ammunition requirement.The ammunition for tanks and artillery for sustaining superior firepower is in the most critical state, sources say.
Army assessments have revealed that immediate procurement of ammunition and spare parts for weapons and military systems worth Rs 40,000 crore is needed to meet the standards of ‘Minimum Acceptable Risk Level’ (MALR) to fight a 20-day intense war.
“Getting the stock of ammunition to desired level is a continuous process, for which the requirements are identified every year and procurements are undertaken accordingly,” Bhambre said.
The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has been falling short of its desired targets of meeting over 90 per cent of the requirements. The shortfalls ranged between 64 per cent and 95 per cent since 2013.
Between 2009 and 2014, the Army placed orders worth Rs 25,000 crore for ammunition, but there was a shortfall of Rs 6,000 crore. In next phase between 2014 and 2019, the Army’s requirement was nearly double of the demand worth Rs 25,000 crore placed, but it had to be restricted due to incapacity of OFB to manufacture such high amount of ammunition.
“Some of the measures taken to ensure adequate availability of ammunition include placing of a Five Year Roll On Indent on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), finalization of Ammunition Road Map in respect of certain identified ammunition and procurements,” Bhambre added.
In addition, financial power to ensure the availability and maintenance of minimum levels of critical ammunition has been delegated to the Army for emergency requirement and to enable them to maintain military preparedness at all times.