Sunday, 22 May 2011

OFB-DRDO Offer Milap Carbine To Army

The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is once again set to woo the Indian Army with its new carbine, a weapon that has left a trail of controversy in recent years. The Army is looking for a new version of carbine for a couple of years but things have not really moved.

After an earlier plan to make a carbine in association with a global firm M/s Singapore Technologies went haywire following an alleged corruption scandal, OFB has now tied up with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to produce the weapon. Named Milap, for the joint venture, the OFB-DRDO carbine is expected to be shortly presented to the Army for trials.

The cost of making Milap is estimated to be Rs 50,000, which is half of what it was envisaged with Singapore Technologies. Carbine is an automatic weapon generally used for close quarter battle.

Around 20 prototypes of Milap would be ready in a month's time and presented to the Army. The bulk production would depend on approval and indent by the user, said Director General of OFB D M Gupta. He was in the city to attend a high-level meeting to decide on future strategy held at the National Academy of Defence Production (NADP).

The carbine to be made in association with Singapore Technologies was estimated to have cost Rs 1.10 lakh apiece, said a source. However, an alleged scandal related to the deal led to the arrest of the then DG OFB Sudipto Gosh a couple of years ago and the firm being blacklisted.

Earlier, the OFB had developed a 5.56 mm carbine Amogh. However, it did not get the acceptability among forces. The weapon was offered to both Army as well as the central paramilitary forces. However, both did not show much interest in it, said a source.

Sources said Milap would have a better range and accuracy compared to the existing one used by the forces. The prototypes will be made at the Small Arms Factory, Kanpur. Once the order is received, manufacturing will take place at a new factory coming up at Korba in Chhattisgarh. Even if Milap is does not clear the user trials by the Army, the one approved will be made at Korba.

After the Singapore Technologies deal was set aside, the Army once again began scouting for vendors for a carbine and had issued a request for information. The process started afresh and OFB-DRDO is one of the contenders. There are chances that the Army may go in for a foreign weapon too.