OFB developing mine protected vehicles
Kolkata: Close on the heels of the Maoist attack at Sukma that killed nine CRPF personnel by blowing up an anti-landmine vehicle, India's largest defence production organisation Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) on Monday said they are putting more efforts on detection of mines and not on neutralising the blast impacts.
"We are developing Mine Protected Vehicles (MPV) to sustain higher intensity explosions but we are also working on means to detect the landmines to avoid such attacks," OFB chairman Sunil Kumar Chourasia said on the occasion of celebration of 217th Foundation Day of OFB
"We are already going for a vehicle with higher protection level to sustain higher intensity explosions. In these MPVs, the order of protection will be around 20 kg BMP. We are developing these MPVs at our unit in Jabalpur," Chourasia added.
The OFB is also planning to add Blast Attenuation Seats which would be mounted on the side walls of the vehicles that would be capable of absorbing a part of the shock so that the shock of the entire blast would not be fully transmitted to the body of the soldier and reduce the life risk factors. Presently, OFB's anti-mine vehicles that are supplied to the Army and CRPF can withstand 10 kg BMP under the belly and 14 kg BMP under the tyres.
"If the blast is within this limit, protection is assured. However, if the blast is of higher intensity, we are helpless. Hence, we are emphasising on detection of the mines to stop deaths," another top OFB official said adding that it is much easier to develop a method to defeat ammunition than to develop a defeating armour.
According to Chourasia, the Indian Army has gone through a change in philosophy when it comes to use of assault rifles. The Army has placed orders for OFB's newly developed 7.62x51 mm assault rifles, and are replacing the ageing Insas rifles
"The Army has sought approximately 8 lakh 7.62x51 mm assault rifles, out of which 72,000 rifles will be immediately purchased through global tender. Of the remaining nearly 7.3 lakh rifles, the armed forces will go for Request for Proposal (RFP) route from around the globe for 75 percent of its requirement, while the OFB will get orders for the rest 25 percent," an OFB official said adding that OFB would also participate in the RFP tendering process.