Indian arms company SSS Defense will begin manufacturing and testing small arms at its new facility which will be operational in Bengaluru in January 2022, with the complex also housing a one-of-a-kind underground weapons test tunnel to determine their efficiency, said the CEO of the company. Vivek Krishnan said on Monday.
“This will be our first full-fledged facility where we will conduct integrated research and development, manufacture and testing of weapons,” he said. Security audits by the Ministry of the Interior are currently underway at the manufacturing unit.
To give a needed boost to the government’s Make in India campaign, the arms factory will make SSS Defense the second private sector company in India to manufacture small arms for local and export markets after PLR Systems Ltd (PLR), a joint venture between Adani Group and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI).
The 150-meter-long tunnel will be the first underground facility to be set up by a private sector company in the country to test and evaluate weapons ranging from pistols and assault rifles to rifles and sniper rifles, said officials. people familiar with the matter. The testing process allows manufacturers to collect crucial tactical weapon data, including muzzle velocity, action time, and consistency.
Experts said the development was an indicator of the maturity of the private sector small arms manufacturing business and that the Indian military and paramilitaries would have a choice of cheaper indigenous options.
Four-year-old SSS Defense has emerged as the lowest bidder for a contract to modernize a small number of Indian Army AK-47 assault rifles, beating competition from established Israeli rival Fab Defense, as the Hindustan Times reported on Sunday.
So far, it has built prototype weapons such as assault rifles and sniper rifles at a ‘bridge’ or makeshift facility in Bengaluru, and the new facility will enable the Bengaluru-based company to increase its annual production to 20,000 assault rifles and 3,000 snipers. rifles according to orders, Krishnan said.
PLR is working on its first order to supply Masada 9mm pistols to elite Indian Navy Marine Commandos, one of the people named above said. The JV manufactures in its factory in Gwalior the full range of IWI weapons such as Tavor assault rifles, X95 assault rifles, Galil sniper rifles, Negev light machine guns and Uzi submachine guns.
Weapons to be manufactured at SSS Defense’s eight-acre unit in Jigani, near Bengaluru’s well-known technology hub, Electronic City, include Viper and Saber sniper rifles, P-72 assault rifles, and carbines. P-72, Krishnan said. The installation of weapons represents an investment of approximately ??200 crores.
The company is also setting up an ammunition manufacturing plant in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, which is expected to be operational next year.
Achieving self-reliance in the small arms sector is essential, said Lieutenant-General DB Shekatkar (retired) military affairs expert.
“Outside of the military, paramilitary organizations and state police forces need to be equipped with quality small arms for better response,” Shekatkar said.