Export by Indian Ordnance Factories
Sub Title : The unknown fact about ordnance factories
Issues Details : Vol 13 Issue 4 Sep/Oct 2019
Author : Defstrat Editorial Team
Page No. : 34
Category : Military Technology
: September 26, 2019
Ordnance Factory Board [OFB] started direct export in 1989, in consonance with the guideline issued at that time- ‘To export its products wherever spare capacity is available as a result of fluctuation in demand from the Armed Forces’.
OFB exports to countries which are not in the negative-list of countries promulgated by the MEA. It has a foothold in friendly countries in India’s immediate neighbourhood and has been making sustained efforts to reach out to India’s extended neighbourhood in Central Asia, Middle East, and ASEAN countries. European and American hubs too have not been off OFB’s export radar. A gamut of products – ranging from arms and ammunition, weapon spares to chemicals, explosives and troop comfort items have been exported so far.
Pro-active marketing is undertaken by OFB through participation in international exhibitions and interaction with visiting delegations from target countries and resource firms. Indian OFB has established viable contacts with firms based in India as well as abroad, which act as conduits for boosting exports. Product promotion through advertisements in international media is being carried out. Missions abroad have provided valuable support in promotion of products manufactured by Indian Ordnance Factories.
With this multi-pronged approach OFB achieved an export turnover of Rs 265 crores in the year 2017-18 and in the process more than trebled its growth rate. The export turnover is likely to further increase in the coming years after modernization and capacity augmentation.
Traditionally bulk of the export orders, in terms of both value and quantity, consist of supply of ammunition, mainly medium and large calibre. However, OFB has also received orders for smaller calibre (5.56mm, 7.62mm and 12.7mm etc) ammunition as well as demolition stores.
Manufacturing of ammunition of various types and explosives is one of OFB’s core areas and the organisation not only meets the requirement of India’s Armed Forces but also supplies ammunition to the State Police Forces as well as Central Armed Police Forces within India. Certain European firms are also sourcing ammunition components from OFB.
Besides ammunition, OFB has also exported 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm Rifles and Machine Guns, 40mm L-70 Gun barrels, AK-630 guns, 12.7 mm HMG ‘Prahari’ AD guns, 7.62 mm MAG guns, Mortars, Night Vision Equipment, 105mm Field Guns, Brake Parachutes and certain Troop Comfort items like tentage etc .
The market demand of OFB’s products is constantly increasing. For instance, Kavach Mod-II, CRN-91 Gun, Brake Parachute, Tetryl and Signal Fog are in demand in the international market. During the current year, OFB has received orders from Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkmenistan for Brake Parachutes whereas Guinea, Turkey and Bangladesh have placed orders for other products.
OFB is developing competence toward other products, including 9mm Pistol, .32 Revolver, Multi Grenade Launchers, Passive Night Vision Goggles, 12 Bore PAG, .30 O6 SPR etc, which would be sought in the global market.
The tremendous business opportunities that the ASEAN countries offer are appreciated. New vistas of defence cooperation through MoUs and ToTs are being explored. OFB’s export to ASEAN have centred on Indonesia and Malaysia. However, in tune with India’s Act East Policy, OFB finds it imperative to venture with greater momentum into the export markets of Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam & Myanmar. OFB believes that ASEAN markets would benefit from its cutting-edge and cost-effective products. Considering the geopolitics of South China Sea, ASEAN countries would find it beneficial to extend cooperation with the Indian defence establishment and OFB being the Indian Government’s defence manufacturing arm, would be the finest choice.
Traditionally we have been exporting Brake Parachutes, 7.62 mm MAG, Spares of 40 mm L-70 Gun, 7.62 mm & 40 mm ammunition and Naval Gun CRN-91 to ASEAN nations. Several other products have been developed through in-house R&D which can have sufficient export potential in ASEAN countries – for instance, 155mm Artillery Gun ‘Dhanush’, Bi-Modular Charge System (BMCS) for 155mm Artillery Ammunition, and Modernised Mine Protected Vehicle (MMPV), among others. OFB is further developing Upgraded BMP-II vehicles, Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), 7.62 x 51 mm Assault Rifle, Air Defence Gun and 155mm x 52 Cal Mounted Gun System and related ammunition and electronic fuzes.
OFB’s cost-competitiveness and quality are proven by the fact that armies of other countries that shop around the world end up buying OFB’s products. OFB is placing renewed thrust on exports and is exploring new markets in Africa and the developing world and it is expected that exports will grow substantially in the coming years, especially in the markets in Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa. Apart from exporting established products, OFB’s technological expertise is also leading to enquiries for new products which along with other drivers would lead to a more visible footprint in the technical market. In this context, it is a matter of pride that 155 mm barrels from OFB are being exported for testing purposes. This is recognition of OFB’s high quality standards.
MEASURES TO BOOST EXPORTS
Reduction in response time by introduction of online response through dedicated e-mail.
Electronic transmission of technical data and brochures
Provision of e-mailable and printable product CD
Continuous product promotion in Military Technology magazines.
Process of registration with Defence Foreign Procurement Offices of other nations initiated through Defence Attachés. This leads to procurement bulletins being directly sent to OFB.
Product demonstration in international defence exhibition.
Build up brand equity
Direct periodic interactions with the target customers.
Resorting to strategic pricing based on marginal costing for improving cost competitiveness.
Procedural simplifications to improve responsiveness.