New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the performance of OFB (Ordnance Factory Board) and four DPSUs (Defence Public Sector Undertakings) — HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited), BEL (Bharat Electronics Limited), BEML (Bharat Earth Movers Limited) and BDL (Bharat Dynamics Limited) on Monday. The officials of OFB, HAL, BEL, BEML and BDL gave presentations on their ongoing and future projects to the Defence Minister and senior officials of Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence.
While expressing satisfaction at the overall achievements of OFB and these DPSUs, Singh urged them to strive further to increase their competitiveness in the global market. Lauding the indigenisation efforts, he called upon the officials to identify more 'Make in India' avenues and help in making India self-reliant in defence production. Singh also urged the officials to explore new modes of business models, focussing on increased defence exports. He expressed hope that the DPSUs will play a pivotal role in making India a global manufacturing hub as well as net exporter.
Headquartered in Kolkata, OFB produces state-of-the-art battlefield equipment, ammunition and other military hardware for the Armed Forces and strives to modernise the production facilities, besides training the personnel. With a focus on indigenisation, the OFB has filed 246 Intellectual Property Rights applications. Forty-two R&D centres, with specific technological domains, have been set up with project-based collaborations with IITs/IISc/NITs. Development of futuristic technologies with Indian private industries through iDex platform is one of the focus areas of OFB.
HAL has consistently performed well in the last five years on several fronts, including operations and finance. The company has achieved operational clearance on seven platforms — Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Advanced Light Helicopter-Weapon System Integrated named as Rudra, 19-seater Do-228 civil Aircraft, Jaguar Darin III and the Mirage Upgrade. In the last five years, two new platforms commenced on the overhaul of Hawk and Su 30 MKI. Till January 2020, the company overhauled 21 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers and 45 Su-30 MKIs. HAL achieved successful integration of BrahMos and Astra missiles on SU-30MKI aircraft, enabling successful test firing.
BEL has successfully implemented projects of strategic importance such as Weapon Locating Radar for the Indian Army, Akash Missile System, Coastal Surveillance System for the Coast Guard, etc. The company has in the recent past successfully indigenised several products and systems, including Akash Missile System (6 Squadrons), Low-Level Light Weight Radar (Aslesha), Weapon Locating Radar, Ground-Based Mobile Elint System, Central Acquisition Radar (Revathi), Coastal Surveillance System, etc. The company recorded an export turnover of $21.6 million in 2018-19. The major countries to which BEL exported its products were Switzerland, USA, France, Germany, Israel, Sweden, Finland, Seychelles, Mauritius, Vietnam and SEZs.
BDL has grown into a multi-product, multi-customer, multi-located enterprise producing defence equipment meeting international quality standards. The BDL is the lead integrator of the Akash Weapon System (AWS). It may be noted that Akash has 96 percent of material sourced from within the country, making the project an outstanding example of 'Make in India' initiative. It is also the production agency for the Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM). BDL signed a contract worth Rs 1,188 crore for supply of Varunastra or the Heavy Weight Torpedo to the Indian Navy. Varunastra has been designed and developed by DRDO and manufactured by BDL. Amogha – III, a third-generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile designed and developed by in-house R&D of BDL, with the support of DRDO, was launched during DefExpo 2020.
Through Make in India initiative, BEML for the first time has designed and developed biggest eco-friendly Electrical Excavator of 180 tonne capacity, Biggest Electric drive dump trucks of 150 tonnes and 190 tonne capacity, which serve as import substitution and help promote the cause of green mining and would save foreign exchange. The 180-tonne Electrical Excavator received Raksha Mantri Excellence Award under Design Effort category. The products designed and developed by BEML include Arjun Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (ARRV), biggest ever 850 HP Bulldozer, Stainless Steel Electric Multiple Unit, Metro Cars for Bangalore and Kolkata Metro Corporation, self-propelled eight-wheeler Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DETC) and unattended Train Operation (UTO) Metro cars for Mumbai Metro.
BEML gave major thrust to self-reliance and achieved indigenisation levels of over 90 percent in the mainline mining and construction products, Rail Coaches and EMUs, over 80 percent in High Mobility Vehicles (HMV) and over 65 percent in Metro cars. BEML is also working towards 'zero import' policy of the government to reach higher levels of indigenisation.