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The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has already kick-started initial activities relating to Transfer of Technology (ToT) for both ‘Nag’ and ‘Nag Missile Carrier (Namica)’, but public sector units like Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) are not completely out of the race yet.
A senior DRDO official confirmed to TOI that the agency is preparing documents for the ToT. “The thought process is there and we are working on the nuances,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Nag, with a range of about four kilometres, is an all-weather “fire-and-forget” ATGM, while Namica is equipped with retractable armoured launchers. It contains launchers and a guidance package, including thermal imager for target locking.
On whether the industry has the capability to build a complete missile system, the official said that right now the Indian industry is yet to display full capabilities. “But we have had proposals that have come in, and we are discussing various options,” the official said.
The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), however, argues that the industry will be able to successfully produce missiles so long as there is commitment from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Industries like Baba Kalyani Group, Mahindra, Reliance and L&T have already submitted proposals to the ministry based on an earlier expression of interest (EoI) and request for information (RFI) for the Arjun tank (BMP-II). However, nothing has moved forward so far, and the industry is now cautiously hopeful.
Col HS Shankar (retd), an executive member of SIDM said: “We have the capability and had expressed interest as part of earlier RFIs and EoIs as you know. The DGMF (Directorate General of Mechanised Forces) and the Army for upgradation of BMP-II (Arjun) earlier had included that industry must produce up-to-date state-of-the-art ground-to-ground missiles. But none of the proposals had got the desired response.”
Shankar further said that the DRDO has already been using several private companies for the development of Nag and that it won’t be a completely new area for the industry.
“From where I see it, I think there will be a combination of public and private participation. The selected private industry may partner with BDL and produce the missile indigenously. But it is a bit premature to speculate anything now,” Shankar added