New Delhi. In keeping with the government’s policy of “Make in India” and encouraging private sector to play a bigger role in manufacture of defence equipment, two state-owned Ordnance factories have opened up their firing ranges. These are Ordnance Factory, Trichy and Rifle Factory in Ishapore, West Bengal and would enable private companies to test their equipment in the country instead of going overseas.
Till date private sector companies were not permitted to use any of the 60 firing ranges spread across the country belonging to defence forces.
So far the Ordnance Factories played a critical role in the production of weapons in India for the Indian Armed Forces, but the sector has now been opened to private companies.
“When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the `Make in India’ initiative in 2014-15, the Indian Army, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and other related organisations were urged to open their testing facilities for private sector, ” Defence Ministry sources said.
“The idea was to allow the private sector companies to get into the manufacturing of military platforms for the Indian Armed Forces. And for testing these platforms, the government-owned entities were encouraged to open up their ranges,” the officer said.
Besides the 60 firing ranges across the countries, in 2018, the Defence Ministry approved an additional 17 new firing ranges smaller in size and these are going to be under covered areas in order to prevent accidents due to stray bullets.
At the Ishapore Rifle Factory, there are three firing ranges which are meant for testing weapons which have a range of 50 to 550 meters. At these ranges, small arms, rifles, and pistols among others can be tested.
The Trichy Facility allows for grenades and small weapons including assault rifles and air defence guns testing with ranges for testing medium-range weapons like the 30-mm gun.
According to a senior army officer, started in the mid-1960s it is also considered to be the largest small arms manufacturing company and produces the most varied range.