PUNE: Business worth nearly Rs 2,500 crore has been generated in the domestic market from the production of indigenously developed Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) system within first three years of its production.
This shows the impact indigenisation of defence-related production can have on the country’s economy.
This rocket system has been designed by one of the city-based Defence Research Development Organisation laboratories, Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE). It was successfully used against the enemy in the 1999 Kargil battle. Its production began in 2007-08. Already, two artillery regiments of Indian Army have been equipped with ground systems and 5,000 rockets.
“The Army has begun placing orders for Pinaka MBRL for its artillery regiment. We designed the Pinaka system and it was successfully deployed in the Kargil war. Large companies like Larsen and Toubro, Tata and 15 small industries have got together to produce Pinaka MBRL along with ordnance factories,” Director of ARDE Anil Datar told Sakal Times.
In Kargil, the rocket system was used in the development stage itself. It was used on a single launcher tube. Make shift arrangements were made for its operations as it was an emergency.
“After its successful use in the battlefield, the Army was interested in this system. Formal user trials took place in 2004 for the Army. In 2006, orders were placed. After 2008, we started undertaking improvement in the rocket system. The technology has been proven and transferred to government and private sector industries. Between 2007-08 to 2010-11, this rocket system generated Rs 2,500 crore business for the Indian market alone,” Datar said.
This successful technology transfer and establishment of production resulted in ARDE winning the ‘DRDO Award for Performance Excellence 2012’ for ‘outstanding contribution’ in design, development, production and successful induction of the Pinaka MBRL in the Indian Army.
“There is more requirement for this rocket system. At present, the ordnance factories are producing around 1,000 rockets per year. The Central Government has released Rs 1,800 crore upgrading the ordnance factories for enhancing the production. Once this happens, the business generated will shoot up,” Datar said.
Meanwhile, the ARDE has already begun working on the advanced version of the Pinaka MBRL, which has been christened as Pinaka MK-II.
“This new version will have a range of 60 plus km, against the 40 km range of the existing Pinaka system for greater effectiveness,” scientist ‘G’ ARDE, K M Rajan said.