Two state-owned Ordnance Factories have opened up their firing ranges for the private companies in the defence sector. This will enable these private companies to test their equipment in the country instead of going overseas.
A top senior Ministry of Defence (MoD) officer told Financial Express Online, "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. "
"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 explained.
Despite the 60 firing ranges spread across the country belonging to defence forces, private sector companies have no permission to test their equipment in these ranges. Now, Ordnance Factory Trichy in Tamil Nadu and the Rifle Factory Ishapore in West Bengal have opened up their firing ranges in an attempt to support the government's efforts to expand defence industrial production through private participation.
So far the Ordnance Factories played a critical role in the production of weapons in India for the Indian Armed Forces, however, the sector has now been opened up to the private sector companies.
Besides the 60 firing ranges across the countries, in 2018, the MoD had given approval for 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 for 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. And the factory has ranges for testing medium-range weapons like the 30-mm gun too.
According to a senior army officer, started in the mid-60s it is also considered to be the largest small arms manufacturing company and produces the most varied range.