New Delhi: With focus on indigenisation to avoid scams in foreign acquisition, Defence Ministry on Wednesday said it will be pumping Rs 15,000 crore to augment domestic military production for systems such as the indigenous 155mm artillery guns.
The major plans of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) include the augmentation of the production capabilities for T-90 and T-72 tanks, engines for armoured vehicles and setting up of 155mm howitzer production plants.
The Ministry's Department of Defence Production said it has hiked the allocation from Rs 583 crore during the 11th Plan period to Rs 15,000 crore for modernisation of the production capabilities of the OFB during the current Plan term. "The OFB has an ambitious plan of modernisation envisaging investment of around Rs 15,000 crore during the 12th plan period," it said in its Annual Report issued on Wednesday.
After the recent VVIP chopper scam, Defence Minister AK Antony had stated that indigenous defence production was the only answer to avoid such scandals and had said his Ministry would change policies in this regard. On the OFB's plans and projects undertaken by it, the Ministry said the list includes "upgunning of 130mm M46 field artillery guns to 155mm 45 calibre standard, development of 155mm 52 calibre mounted howitzers and integration of the 105mm field guns on the BMP combat vehicles."
On the development of the indigenous guns, the Ministry said it is planned to provide two 155mm 45 calibre guns to the Army this month for field evaluation. The Indian Army has been deprived of even a single piece of new artillery after the Bofors scandal in the 1980s as due to one reason or the other, several tenders have been cancelled by the Ministry.