Deviating from the latest trend of publishing abusive articles and new items in the Media against the Ordnance Factories especially after Govt took the decision to convert the Ordnance Factories into a Corporation, two encouraging new items are published recently about the role and performance of the Ordnance Factories. The first news item was about the export order OFB has received from US for supplying Cartridge Bullets for US Civilian market. The OFB has received an export order to supply 5.56 x 45 mm NATO MI-93 Ball Ammunition to USA. The Ammunition will be manufactured by Ordnance Factory Varangaon and will be supplied in the present financial year. The 5.56 x 45 mm NATO MI-93 Ball Ammunition is an intermediate Cartridge Bullet. This export order OFB has received especially when the OFB has been subjected to severe criticism about its quality, its costs and its timely delivery.
Another news item which has come in the press is about the large Calibre AMR, named “VIDWANSHAK” which is an 100% Indigenous weapon launched by OFB during the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” week. The OFB is soon set to offer its Indigenously developed large Calibre Sniper Anti-material rifle to the Indian Army for trials after having incorporated modification as per the Army’s requirement. The OFB have already started receiving Orders from Paramilitary Forces and even State Police Forces. The Indian Army was earlier importing such 14.5 mm/20 mm anti-material Sniper Rifles from the South African company Denel Land Systems.
There are many such achievements of OFB. The OCF, Avadi has already developed Bullet Resistant Jacket for which orders are pouring from State Police Forces. The OCF, Shahjahanpur has developed extreme climate clothing for which Army has not yet placed Indent and are importing from abroad. Developmental activities for technical clothing which are Fire Resistant, Anti-bacterial etc., are going on in the Ordnance Factories. Orders are pouring in for OFT developed Trichy Assault Rifle (TAR) from Paramilitary Forces and State Polices. The critics especially the retired Army Officers doesn’t open their mouth about such achievements of the OFB. They only feel happy by saying that Ordnance Factories are useless, and Army soldiers are losing their life due to poor quality of Arms and Ammunitions supplied by OFB. They also say that Indian Army is not getting weapons etc., from OFB in a time bound manner. These false propagandas are countered several times. The OFB has clarified that out of the total No. of accidents where defect investigation has been completed, only 2% of the cases where casualties have been reported are attributable to the OFB. In 98% of the cases where there have been casualties, these are not attributable to OFB. It is also fact that most of these accidents involve vintage ammunition manufactured prior to 2006 when the inspection of input materials was not with OFB.
The self-claimed experts have got no idea that why the capacities in Ordnance Factories are created. OFB is built as a Strategic entity with flexibility to ramp-up capacity during surge requirements. It is most unfortunate that the vested interest people are spreading rumours, maiming and mangling the OFB and its employees who have without fail shown their patriotism and dedication to the Indian Army at all times. The bundle of lies heaped by people who have no idea of the role and charter of OFB and provide unsolicited advice and solution as if it is a simple equation and solutions that are applicable to the set industrial unit could be thrust on OFB. They are all exposed now. The Ordnance Factories and its employees have overcome all these planned attacks and conspiracies and they have once again proved that nobody can match their technical knowledge and potential. If the quality of OFB products are poor then why a most developed country like US has placed orders on Ordnance Factories. Why more and more enquiries are coming from abroad?
The decision makers sitting at South Block should ask their conscience that if the products of OFB are so poor then why US has placed Orders on the Ordnance Factories. Ordnance Factories should not be compared with any commercial organizations. During war times the Ordnance Factories should be fleet footed. They should be able to change product lines with least turn around time. That requires flexible machining lines for empties and Small Arms Components and robotic filling plants etc. Ordnance Factories have such many highly sophisticated flexible systems which no private industry is in possession. One should understand that workforce of Ordnance Factories will be the first one to pledge to work 24 x 7 for replenishing the stock. The motor mouthed self-claimed experts should stop insulting the patriotism of the workforce of Ordnance Factories, they are no less than over sentinels on the border. The retired bunch of officers should also understand the fact deteriorating quality of training our shoulders in handling sensitive arms and ammunition.
We have all heard about the quality of the Toyota Cars. It went through a difficult face when the quality of Airbags deployed in the front and side doors exploded unexpectedly. This involved accidents approximately 85 million cars were fitted with this defective Airbags. Finally they could find out that reason for premature explosion of the Airbags. By the time it took years, lawsuits, financial collapse etc. Even the best of manufacturer can face these types of problems. Even the Boeing company had to admit recently some malfunction of software which forced them to withdraw its products. Therefore before criticizing the OFB products the reason for malfunctions of any product has to be analysed scientifically and technically. By quoting one or two incidents OFB should not be degraded and destroyed. I can only say that we should not cut our nose to spite our face.
Views expressed here are those of C.Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation and National Executive Committee Member of AITUC