India’s longstanding Defence partner Russia has decided greater penetration into the Indian Defence market by revealing that it will create a licensed production facility for tank and rocket artillery ammunitions in the country. Victor Komardin, Deputy Head of Russian Defence major Rosoboronexport, has indicated that a production facility to manufacture projectiles for Smerch multi-barrel mobile rocket launchers is on the cards. In addition, Russia is already set to deliver ammunition, including tank and artillery shells, worth $1 billion to India this year.
Speaking at a Defence Show on Machine-Building Technologies in Moscow, top Rosoboroexport officials have indicated that Russia will increase its presence in India by setting up a production facility besides continuing the Defence exports. Apparently, Russia has sealed the first round of negotiations on the delivery of 3UBK20 (Mango) tank projectiles. The establishment of a joint venture for licensed production of the projectiles will take place this week in India.
Currently, the Indian Army relies heavily on the Smerch MRBLs which can fire 12 rockets at once and hit targets up to 70 kilometres along with the Russian-origin Grad 122mm rocket systems and indigenous Pinaka MRBL. The rockets are powered by solid fuel engine and are 7.6 metres long. The rockets weigh 800 kilograms, including a 100 kilogram warhead. Its range can be extended to 90 kilometers, and it is capable of launching surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles. India has 42 Smerch launchers.
Meanwhile, Russia is also fulfilling the $ 1 billion worth of contracts signed earlier this year for supply of tank and artillery projectiles, anti-tank rockets and other ammunitions for land forces. The Indian army currently lacks several thousand anti-tank missiles of Russian types alone. As of now, the public and private sector Defence firms in India cannot deliver the requirement posed by the Indian Army.
The $ 1 billion contract with India is one of the largest export contacts which Rosoboronexport concluded in 2011-2012. In fact, according to Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT), Russia’s supply of arms and ammunition to India will be worth $ 7.7 billion which is about 80 per cent of India’s arms exports. A large factor for this result is the Russian supplies being behind schedule.
Among the many deliveries expected this year, the transfer of the refurbished Vikramaditya aircraft carrier to India by end of 2012 will be the top project worth $ 2.34 billion. Its modernization cost has been adjusted a few times and now totals $2.34 billion. Following this, the second-biggest delivery is the planned supply of two frigates worth an estimated $1 billion.
According to CAWAT, the military supplies to India from Russia will include about 21 Su-30MKI fighters under a licensed assembly contract signed in year 2000, 12 Su-30MKI fighters under a 2007 contract, 40 Mi-17V-5 helicopters and nine shipboard MiG-29K/KUB fighters under the original arms supply schedule.
Besides, India and Russia will continue the programmes to upgrade MiG-29 fighters, BPA Tu-142 aircraft, and Mi-17 helicopters, repair type 877EKM diesel-electric submarines, and supply Ka-31 helicopters, AL-55 and TRDD-50MT engines, Mi-17 flight simulator training systems, and Club-C anti-ship missile launchers.