(i) Development of multimode grenade The work for development of multimode grenade to replace the existing grenade by a lighter version having enhanced capabilities, was assigned to TBRL in 1989 at a sanctioned cost of `98 lakh with the objective of achieving a delay time of fuze for multimode grenade between 3.5 and 4.5 seconds. The first user trial was conducted in December 1997 although the PDC of the project was over in June 1997.
On the basis of successful user trials, a project for Transfer of Technology (ToT) to Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) was sanctionedby DRDO at cost of `19 lakh for production of grenade in May 1998. The project on ToT was completedin May 2000 with the recommendation that a new project be taken up for extended user’s trials.
So, design worked. User trials were a success. Then TOT to OFB and production series to be submitted for extended trials, to check OFB QA/QC clearly and whether pilot production could move onto series.
Accordingly, Ministry of Defence (MoD) sanctioned (June 2000)another project for manufacturing of 2000 grenades after extended user trials at a cost of`24.8 lakh. The project was closed by TBRL in June 2003 after declaring it successful. As per the closure report the users had achieved 95 per centreliability in their trials. There was, however no specific mention about the time delay in the closure report.
KM: 95% reliability in the first pilot batch, IA happy, all is well.
In March 2010, MoD placed supply order on OFB to arrange supply of 10 lakh grenades at a total cost of `193.80 crore. But after receipt of only 35,000 grenades costing `6.78 crore, Army intimated TBRL (November 2011) that the detonating time delay of the grenade was ranging between 2.5 and 5.0 seconds against required/specified delay of 3.5 to 4.5 seconds. As the delaytime was an operational requirement and could not be relaxed, Army imposed ban on use of grenades in November 2011 and progress on the production of grenades is at a standstill as of September 2014.
Boom, trainwreck. They dont mention the distribution of grenades falling outside the normal 3.5-4.5 seconds but was likely greater than 95% which IA was ok with, hence go-ahead for series production. Note however, thankfully, we have learnt from previous OFB gung-ho production debacles and whole batch was not wasted by rejecting it after 10,00,000 units were made (FSAPDS, 155mm ammo etc).
Since TBRLwas Authority Holding Sealed Particulars (AHSP) for production upto first 10 lakh grenades, it was the responsibility of the Lab to ensure that the user’s requirement was fully met, till production of such quantity. However, due to non-achieving of the desired delay of 3.5 seconds to 4.5 seconds, TBRL failed to develop the lighter version of the grenade with enhanced capability ................ Ministry in their reply (August 2015) to the draft report accepted the limitation and stated that it was not possible to get 100 per cent of grenades functioning between 3.5 second and 4.5 second and therefore a case for waiver of 0.5 second has been sent to Competent Authority for approval.
So, a distribution - some grenades are falling outside the stated 3.5 to 4.5 second range.
It was further stated that TBRL was making efforts to resolve the issue of delay time by involving private industry.
This to me, is the killer quote - because if it was a design issue, the production aspect would have been stopped.
Now, after this we have:
1. TOT to Solar.
2. Same as before, 2000 unit trial run at Solar (note, this is the same sampling quantity, 2000 unit which was actually used for extended user trials at OFB series production quality check. This indicates to me, that DRDO accelerated the sequential process and in 1st phase itself wanted to check if production had stabilized.)
3. Clears Internal trials & offered to user (2017)
4. IA User Trials (but haven't found reports yet)
5.? We have reports of the earlier 10,00,000 unit order being reactivate (2019). Remember, it was already cleared but in abeyance.
This is a pretty good overview of the facilities at Solar, their depth etc and the projects they are involved in.