In a surprising revelation from the Indian Army, they have sounded an alarm over the unacceptably high number of accidents taking place in the field due to poor quality and defective ammunition being supplied for tanks, artillery, air defence and other guns by the state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).
As per reports, the Army has told the defence ministry (MoD) that the increase in ammunition-related accidents is causing ‘fatalities, injuries and damage to equipment’ at an alarming rate. This, in turn, is ‘leading to the Army’s loss of confidence in most types of ammunition’ being manufactured by OFB.
The Army has raised these concerns with secretary (defence production) Ajay Kumar and have spoken about the lack of requisite quality control and quality assurance by OFB.
Reports suggest that the Army and the MoD have jointly started the process of improving the functioning of the OFB, with the Army being asked to submit a paper detailing different problems with the ammunition.
The 15 page paper has highlighted regular accidents with the following ammunition – 105mm Indian field guns, 105mm light field guns, 130mm MA1 medium guns, 40mm L-70 air defence guns, main guns of T-72, T-90 and Arjun battle tanks. Some cases have also been reported in the 155mm Bofors guns due to defective ammunition.
Due to these critical issues, the Army has stopped all training firing of the 40mm high explosive ammunition by the L-70 air defence guns.
Reportedly, some important reasons can be manufacturing deficiencies, improper handling and storage in ammo depots, improper maintenance of weapon systems, and improper handling of ammo and weapons during firings.
With this alarm and the collaborative improvement process being undertaken by the Army and the MoD, hopefully, these issues can soon be ironed out.