The Indian Army has turned to private industry this August to ask for support in providing ammunition to its soldiers for the next 10 years according to a request for information (RFI) submitted by the Master General of Ordnance on 4 August. The RFI seeks to identify prospective manufacturers for participating in the indigenous manufacture of ammunition.
If selected, the private firms would be producing many types of ammunition, as well as ordnance including rockets for the 300mm SMERCH, the 122mm BM21m 9mm shoulder-fired rocket launcher as well as small arms ammunition such as 9x19mm and 7.62x51mm, for use with various weapons including general purpose machine guns and the SIG Sauer 716i rifles that have recently been procured.
The requirements placed on private firms vary depending on the ammunition required. For example, several dozen of the the 300mm SMERCH rockets would be needed per year. Meanwhile, 7.62x51mm ammunition would need to be produced at a rate of 70 lakh per year (70,000,000).
Despite the request for private firms to help, the Indian government stated in no uncertain terms that they will not be providing any funding, special concessions, or investment in any of the setup needed to provide the necessary infrastructure for the manufacture of this ammunition. The entirety of the production expansion would need to be footed by the prospective companies.
Right now, the vast majority of the ammunition and ordnance provided to the Indian Army comes from the state-run Ordnance Factory Board. The remainder of India’s specialized and critical ammunition is imported from other countries. However, this shift is a good indication that India is attempting to rely less on imported arms and ammunition and create more indigenous self-reliance. This falls in line with the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
In 2017, the government identified 8 initial types of ammunition that could be potentially supplied by private firms. These 8 types of ammunition were approved by the government for privatized production and this initial 10 years will give the government a better idea if long-term capacity is a good alternative to the current model of importation and state-run production.
All photos sourced from Indian Military Photos FaceBook Page.