Defence PSU Munitions India Ltd (MIL) has managed an order book for exports of about ₹4,700 crore, sending explosives to at least seven countries in Europe, four in Africa, two in the Middle East and to the civilian market in the United State of America (USA), top state-owned company sources said.
Among the total export orders, ₹2000 cr is for European countries, ₹1500 cr for African countries, and around ₹400 cr for the Middle East countries, pointed out senior MIL officials. The state-owned explosives company is booked till financial year 2025 to supply these orders though it’s expecting more in the current financial year, including a repeat of March 2022 order for exports of small arms ammunition owing to positive feedback from the civil market in the USA, said MIL sources. The bullets MIL, a conglomeration of erstwhile ordinance factory boards, is sending to America include 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm bores, prohibited in India but the public in the USA is allowed to use such weapons.
Overall, the MIL manufactures 300 different types of explosives, spread across a range of artillery shells, mortars and bullets, besides also supplying companies here and abroad fuse, and explosive fills like TNT, RDX and MMX which is of high melting intensity.
It is learnt that the MIL supplied TNT to Brazil two months ago. Other than that, BAE Systems has approached the MIL and, the PSU sources stated, that they have approved the processes and products which are likely to translate into exports of TNT and RDX. The MIL officials observed that the reason for the growth in exports is that India is able to offer quality explosives and fills at prices 15% to 20 per cent cheaper in comparison to the international market.
The MIL, stated its officials, began focussing on exports from October 2021 given the limitation of the domestic market and to give a filip to the Ministry of Defence’s push for Make in India for the globe. The company recorded a revenue growth of over 40 per cent during FY22 as compared to the previous year. The buoyancy in revenue was also owing to the orders it received for the supply of ten lakh hand grenades, manufactured by a Jabalpur-based factory of the MIL, for Indian Army.
MIL CMD Ravi Kant, however, told Businessline that to promote aatmanirbharta or self-reliance, the defence PSU will increase the indigenisation content to 99 per cent from the existing 95 per cent. Taking of the expansion plans, Ravi Kant stated that the company is getting into the arena of a special kind of unmanned vehicle that can be used to transport ammunition even at the high altitudes, with an endurance of 20 km and payload carrying capacity of 50 kgs. The next stage of MIL’s portfolio enhancement would be to manufacture loitering ammunition in drones so that the defence PSU is able to offer complete solution designed as future weapon systems.
The state-owned company is also in talks with some neighbouring as well as African countries to transfer technology for the production of ammunition in their own jurisdictions, stated MIL sources. It is also in talks with start ups and DRDO for capability enhancement of infantry soldiers.