SOURCE: The Statesman
The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) feels the isothermal microcalorimetry (IMC) method to test shelf life of multimode hand grenades might be unreliable compared to ISAT (B) tests followed by OFB and approved by the Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) under Ministry of Defence (MoD).
High placed sources in the Kolkata based defence manufacturer, OFB, told The Statesman, “The DGQA-approved method which is well established for shelf life assessment in India and is being carried out for most of the ammunition stores are Intensified Simulated and Accelerated Test (ISAT) (B).”
The reply comes in the wake of reports that the Indian Army has for the first time asked for testing shelf life of the multi-mode hand grenades before procurement.
A private Nagpur-based defence manufacturer has reportedly suggested the IMC method that will take four months approx to prove shelf life whereas for OFB it will take 20 months to complete ISAT (B) trials approved by DGQA which in turn might lead to the private manufacturer bagging the orders.
OFB sources reasoned that a system it follows of early user exploitation of random samples from each manufactured lot of ammunition, introduced in December 2013 “has shown a satisfaction level matching with international standards.”
“As per present standard operating procedure of OFB, ISAT (B) trial is carried out from the first production lot after bulk production clearance to the production agency” said OFB sources.
However, an OFB official said “It is unfair if the order for procurement is not given to OFB because it followed the MoD approved method. If OFB was to deviate from the First of Production Model (FOPM) then it should have been informed two years back when samples were evaluated for user and DGQA trials.
It was contended that commercial considerations underlie corporate attempts to garner competitive advantage. The Ordnance Factories on the other hand are “not always able to follow the diktats of commercial prudence but provides lifetime warranty for its products.”