India orders $350-million Pinaka rockets for China border

File Photo: Pinaka rockets of the Indian Army.

By N. C. Bipindra

New Delhi: In a major boost to the private sector, India‘s defence ministry today said it has signed a Rs 2,580-crore (slightly over $350 million) contract with Larsen and Toubro and Tata Power Company Limited, apart from a public sector enterprise, for the supply of six Pinaka rocket regiments, to strengthen the army’s artillery along the de facto borders with China.

The contract also provide a fillip to the Narendra Modi government’s ‘Make in India‘ initiative under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat‘ (Self-Reliant India) campaign launched earlier this year. The public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Defence to bag the order is Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML).

Signed by the Acquisition Wing of the defence ministry, the six Pinaka regiments would comprise 114 launchers with Automated Gun Aiming and Positioning System (AGAPS), apart from 45 Command Posts. Larsen and Toubro and Tata Power Company Limited will supply the Command Posts, while BEML would supply 330 vehicles.

“These six Pinaka Regiments will be operationalised along the northern and eastern borders of our country further enhancing the operation preparedness of our armed forces. Induction of Six Pinaka Regiments is planned to be completed by 2024,” a defence ministry statement said.

The “northern and eastern border” is an officialese for the Line of Actual Control with China.

The project was processed under the ‘Buy (Indian)‘ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure, with 70 per cent Indigenous Content. India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman approved the procurement.

The 40-km-range Pinaka Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) has been indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and productionised by the three defence manufacturers. India has also test fired a 75-km extended range variant of the Pinaka in the recent years.

This is a flagship project showcasing public-private partnership under the aegis of Government of India enabling self-reliance (Atmanirbharta) in cutting edge defence technologies.

The munitions for the Pinaka rockets are manufactured by Economic Explosives Limited, the first by the private sector in India. These rockets were test-fired at the Pokhran ranges recently.

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