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Govt clears Rs 1,500 crore proposal for Pinaka rockets

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NEW DELHI (PTI): To enhance Indian Army's firepower, the government has approved a Rs 1,500 crore proposal for production of more than 2,000 rockets for the Pinaka multi- barrel weapons system.

The Army requires more than 2,000 of these rockets to equip its 10-12 regiments comprising the Pinaka launchers.

A meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has given a nod to the proposal moved by the Defence Ministry for upgrading the capabilities of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for producing these rockets, sources told PTI here.

As per the proposal, OFB, under the Department of Defence Production, will upgrade facilities at nine of its factories engaged in the production of Pinaka rockets, they said.

With a focus on indigenisation to avoid scams in acquisition of foreign military hardware, the Defence Ministry has also decided to pump in Rs 15,000 crore to augment domestic military production.

The major plans of OFB include augmentation of 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 has decided to hike the allocation from Rs 583 crore during the 11th Plan period to Rs 15,000 crore for modernisation of the production capabilities of OFB during the current Plan.

After the recent VVIP chopper scam, Defence Minister A K Antony had stated that indigenous defence production was the only answer to avoid such scandals. The Ministry would change policies in that regard, he had said.

OFB list includes upgrading 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 BMP combat vehicles.

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