Making its presence felt in missile production, Bharat Dynamics Limited will now set up a surface-to-air missile manufacturing unit at Ibrahimpatnam. With this, AP has now become the missile capital of India, with BDL having three more manufacturing units in the state. BDL has definitely come a long way, from making the first generation anti-tank guided missiles to second generation ATGMs and Milans. It had taken up Russian Konkurs and now, surface-to-air missiles. A BDL official disclosed that the Ibrahimpatnam unit, which would be BDL’s fourth manufacturing unit in the state, would be set up at a cost of Rs2,500 crore.
The surface-to-air missile defence project will be esta-blished in an area of about 630 acres. This is among the few industries that has the capacity to manufacture state-of-the-art guided wea-pon systems. Its main asset is a pool of engineers drawn from Defence Research and Development Organisation and aerospace industries. Operations in Ibrahim-patnam unit shall start by 2017. Officials further said that BDL shall manufacture 15,000 Invar guided missiles under licence as a part of Transfer Of Technology agreement, while another 10,000 Invar missiles shall be purchased directly from Russian producers. The Invar anti-tank guided missile is a derivative of NATO AT-11B Sniper. The gun-launched Invar missiles shall be deployed on T-90 main battle tanks of the Army and are fired from the 125 mm barrel of a gun.
BDL, the prime production agency for missiles, started its operations with the production of the first generation anti-tank guided missile — the French SS11B1, under a licence agreement with Aerospatiale in that country. Following this, BDL got into production of second generation ATGMs — the French Milan-2 and the Russian Konkurs. These projects were taken up for licence production with technical collaboration from M/s Euromissile, France and M/s KBP, Russia respectively.