OFB developing mine protected vehicles to sustain higher intensity blasts

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Kolkata, March 19 (IANS) Days after the Maoists killed nine CRPF personnel by blowing up an anti-landmine vehicle, India’s largest defence production organisation Ordnance Factory Board on Monday said it is developing Mine Protected Vehicles (MPV) to sustain higher intensity explosions but stressed on the importance of detecting the landmines to avoid such attacks.

“Seeing the present threat we are already going for a vehicle with higher protection level. A vehicle that would have a better capacity to sustain higher intensity explosions. In these MPVs, the order of protection will be around 20 kg BMP. However, the vehicle is yet to be tested,” OFB chairman Sunil Kumar Chourasia told reporters here.

“We are also planning to add Blast Attenuation Seats which would be mounted on the side walls of the vehicles and would have the capacity to absorb part of the shock. So the shock of the entire blast would not be fully transmitted to the body of the soldier and reduce the life risk factors,” he said.

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The OFB officials said the present anti-mine vehicles supplied to the Indian Army and CRPF has the capacity to bear 10 kg BMP under the belly and 14 kg BMP under the tyres.

“If the blast is within this limit, protection is assured. If the blast is much higher, then the impact of it would be difficult to calculate. Also if the attackers are putting 50kg or 100 kg BMP explosives we cannot afford to let our vehicles go over them… rather we have to find a way to detect the mines.

“The effort has to be put on detection, not on neutralising the blast impacts,” Chourasia said.

Citing examples of the ammunition used by Indian Army at present to combat its Pakistan counterpart, he said it is much easier to develop a method to defeat ammunition than to develop a defeating armour. The ammo capability can be increased, but once the enemy knows the defeating capacity, it is easy to develop ammunition of higher intensity.”

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Revealing that there is a requirement of eight lakh 7.62 A-51 fully automatic guns for the Indian Army, Chourasia said OFB has already developed the prototype and shown it to the army.

“As many as 72,000 guns are being made by the OFB. Rest 7,28000 are being put up for tender. the price that we have quoted is likely to be accepted,” an OFB official said.

He also said that OFB is providing a 100 percent indigenous solution in up-gunning the existing 130 mm guns and ammunition to 155 mm guns which would also be cost effective.

“The army currently has 130 mm artillery guns and they are using 130 mm ammunition. Both these and guns and ammunition have limited range. If they opt for 155 mm guns, the range and the lethality, both becomes more.

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“However, replacing the old 130 mm guns with the new ones would cost around Rs 15-20 crore for each gun but if only the barrel of the old gun is replaced, the entire other system of the gun would still be functional. Also it would cost much lesser, may be around one crore for each gun,” he added.



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