Indian Army demands better ammunition for its guns

The Indian Army has raised the alarm over the poor quality of ammunition being supplied by the state-run Ordnance Factory Board, Northlines reports.

Indian Army demands better ammunition for its weapons
T-72M1 Ajeya MBT in action at the Mahajan Field Firing Range, Rajasthan (Picture source: Indian army)

“With the Ordnance Factory Board’s (OFB) piecemeal and poor approach in problem-solving, the Army has stopped firing some types of long-range ammunition, while also refraining from not testing some others to their maximum ranges. There have been, for instance, over 40 accidents of the 125mm high-explosive ammunition fired by tanks in the last five years,” said a source.

Similarly, the Army has stopped “all training firing” of the 40mm high-explosive ammunition by the L-70 air defence guns after the latest accident in February, in which an officer and four soldiers were seriously injured at the Mahajan field firing range. “The entire range of the L-70 high-explosive ammunition held by the Army is now suspect,” said another source.

Moreover, a large quantum of OFB ammunition has also been found defective during their shelf-lives due to poor quality control. “Blackening of ammunition of small arms and heavy-caliber ammunition due to poor metallurgy and packaging is also a major problem,” said the source.

American officials, incidentally, had also blamed OFB ammunition after the muzzle of a new M777A2 ultralight howitzer had broken during tests at the Pokhran field firing ranges in September 2017, before the Army began the induction of 145 such artillery guns bought from BAE Systems. “A joint team had later scientifically traced the problem to a particular lot of bi-modular charge system ammunition. But the overall problems remain,” he added.