SHASHWAT GUPTA RAY
Monday, December 24, 2012 AT 12:14 PM (IST)
PUNE: The Army’s refusal to accept a modular charge system developed by the city-based DRDO lab High Explosive Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) has resulted in wasteful expenditure of Rs 13.48 crore for the DRDO, a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said.
The modular charge system helps to enhance functioning of Artillery guns. The chapter titled ‘Unfruitful expenditure on development of modular charge system for field guns’ said that the DRDO undertook a Technology Development (TD) project for development of the modular charge system for 105 mm and 130 mm guns based on a request by the Director General of Artillery. This project was handed over to Pune-based DRDO lab HEMRL.
In the field of artillery guns, modular charge system was considered desirable over the existing bagged charge system in view various advantages.
“HEMRL developed the systems by spending Rs 13.48 crore and after successful technical trials offered both the systems (105/130 mm) in September 2010 for user trials. However, at that stage DG Artillery showed disinterest in the system since the field guns were nearing the end of their life cycle and were likely to be de-inducted from service over next seven to 10 years. This rendered the entire efforts and expenditure of Rs 13.48 cr unfruitful,” the CAG report said.
In reply to audit observation, the DG Artillery stated (May 2012) that DRDO had been asked to undertake the project at no cost implication to the Army and the systems were not accepted as the DRDO did not adhere to the timeline.
On the contrary, the DRDO Headquarters stated (July 2012) that the Army had been associated at each stage of development and kept informed of progress.
“The finger pointing by two organisations both under the Ministry of Defence, DRDO which is responsible for indigenisation and Army which is expected to put such indigenous weapons system to use, indicates that both the organisations within the same Ministry have been operating in silos,” the report said.
While the Army headquarters did not respond to a Sakal Times query on the matter, Director of Public Interface, DRDO Headquarters Ravi Kumar Gupta said that after the establishment of technology, R&D work was undertaken to apply it to field guns of the other caliber like 105 mm and 130 mm field guns.