Ordnance Factory Board
IndustryDefence Production
Founded1712; 309 years ago (1712) [1][2]
Defunct1 October 2021 (2021-10-01)[3]
FateCorporatised
Successors
Headquarters
Ayudh Bhawan, Kolkata
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
E. R. Sheikh, IOFS
(Director General) [4]
ProductsSmall arms, aircraft weapons, anti-aircraft warfare, naval weapons, anti-ship warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-tank warfare, missiles, missile launchers, rockets, rocket launchers, bombs, grenades, mortars, mines, metals, alloys, machine tools, military vehicles, engines, armoured vehicles, parachutes, optoelectronics, chemicals, clothing, artillery, ammunition, propellants, explosives
RevenueUS$3 billion (₹22,389.22 crores)
(2020–'21)[5][6][7][8]
Number of employees
~80,000[9]
Websitewww.ofb.gov.in

Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), consisting of the Indian Ordnance Factories, now known as Directorate of Ordnance (Coordination & Services) was an organisation, under the Department of Defence Production (DDP) of Ministry of Defence (MoD), Government of India.[10] The 41 Indian Ordnance Factories have been converted into 7 Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

OFB was the 37th-largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd-largest in Asia, and the largest in India.[11]OFB was the world's largest government-operated production organisation,[12] and the oldest organisation in India.[13][14] It had a total workforce of about 80,000.[9] It was often called the "Fourth Arm of Defence",[15][16][17] and the "Force Behind the Armed Forces" of India.[18][19] Its total sales were at US$3 billion (₹22,389.22 crores) in the year 2020–'21.[20]

It was engaged in research, development, production, testing, marketing and logistics of a product range in the areas of air, land and sea systems. OFB consisted of forty-one ordnance factories, nine training institutes, three regional marketing centres and four regional controllerates of safety, which are spread all across the country.[21][22] Every year, 18 March is celebrated as the Ordnance Factory Day in India.[23][24]

History

Origins

Ordnance Factory Board predates all the other organisations like the Indian Army and the Indian Railways by over a century. The first Indian ordnance factory can trace its origins back to the year 1712 when the Dutch Ostend Company established a Gun Powder Factory in Ichhapur.[25] In 1787, another gunpowder factory was established at Ichapore; it began production in 1791, and the site was later used as a rifle factory, beginning in 1904. In 1801, Gun Carriage Agency (now known as Gun & Shell Factory, Cossipore) was established at Cossipore, Calcutta, and production began on 18 March 1802. This is the oldest ordnance factory in India still in existence.[26]

Contributions

The Indian Ordnance Factories have not only supported India through the wars, but also played an important role in building India, with the advancement of technology, and have ushered the Industrial Revolution in India, starting with the first modern steel plant of India, much before Tata Steel,[27] first modern electric textile mill of India, first chemical industries of India,[28] established the first engineering colleges of India, as its training schools,[29] sparked India's first war of independence in 1857 with its rifles and bullets,[30][31] and also played key role in the founding of research and industrial organisations like ISRO, DRDO, BDL, BEL, BEML, SAIL, etc.[32][33]

Timeline

Restructuring OFB into seven PSUs

On 17 June 2021, the Defence Ministry announced plans to restructure OFB into seven PSUs wholly owned by the government. It was mentioned that all existing factories and employees will become a part of these seven PSUs.[35][36] From 1 October 2021, OFB has been dissolved and all the management, control, operations and maintenance has been transferred to 7 newly formed Defence PSUs, namely:[37][38]

The new companies were launched and dedicated to the nation on 15 October 2021 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.[53]

Infrastructure and leadership of erstwhile OFB

OFB's office at Esplanade, Kolkata [54][55][56]
OFB's office at Esplanade, Kolkata [54][55][56]

Headquarters (erstwhile)

Apex Board

The Apex Board was headed by the Director General of Ordnance Factories (DGOF), who acts as the Chairman of the board (ex officio Secretary to Government of India) and consisted of nine other members, who each held the rank of Additional DGOF. Ordnance factories were divided into five operating divisions, depending upon the type of the main products/technologies employed. These were:

Each of the above group of factories was headed by a Member/Additional DGOF who was in the rank of Special Secretary to Government of India. The four remaining members were responsible for staff functions, viz personnel, finance, planning and material management, and technical services, and they operated from Kolkata.

Ordnance factories

Factory Location State Defence PSU
Ammunition Factory Khadki (AFK) Pune Maharashtra Munitions India Limited
Cordite Factory (CFA) Aruvankadu Tamil Nadu Munitions India Limited
Engine Factory Avadi (EFA) Chennai Tamil Nadu Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited
Field Gun Factory, Kanpur (FGK) Kanpur Uttar Pradesh Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited
Gun Carriage Factory Jabalpur (GCF) Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited
Grey Iron Foundry (GIF) Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh Yantra India Limited
Gun and Shell Factory (GSF) Kolkata West Bengal Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited
Heavy Alloy Penetrator Project (HAPP) Tiruchirappalli Tamil Nadu Munitions India Limited
High Explosives Factory (HEF) Pune Maharashtra Munitions India Limited
Heavy Vehicles Factory, Chennai (HVF) Chennai Tamil Nadu Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited
Machine Tool Prototype Factory Ambernath (MPF) Mumbai Maharashtra Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited
Metal and Steel Factory (MSF) Kolkata West Bengal Yantra India Limited
Ordnance Clothing Factory Avadi (OCFAV) Chennai Tamil Nadu Troop Comforts Limited
Ordnance Factory Chandigarh (OCFC) Chandigarh Chandigarh India Optel Limited
Ordnance Clothing Factory (OCFS) Shahjahanpur Uttar Pradesh Troop Comforts Limited
Ordnance Equipment Factory Kanpur (OEFC) Kanpur Uttar Pradesh Troop Comforts Limited
Ordnance Equipment Factory Hazratpur (OEFHZ) Hazratpur Uttar Pradesh Troop Comforts Limited
Ordnance Factory Ambernath (OFA) Mumbai Maharashtra Yantra India Limited
Ordnance Factory Ambajhari (OFAJ) Nagpur Maharashtra Yantra India Limited
Ordnance Factory Bhandara (OFBA) Bhandara Maharashtra Munitions India Limited
Ordnance Factory Bhusawal (OFBH) Bhusawal Maharashtra Yantra India Limited
Ordnance Factory Bolangir (OFBOL) Bolangir Odisha Munitions India Limited
Ordnance Factory Kanpur (OFC) Kanpur Uttar Pradesh Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited
Ordnance Factory Chandrapur (OFCH) Chandrapur Maharashtra Munitions India Limited
Ordnance Factory Dumdum (OFDC) Kolkata West Bengal Yantra India Limited
Ordnance Factory Dehu Road (OFDR) Pune Maharashtra Munitions India Limited
Ordnance Factory Dehradun (OFDUN) Dehradun Uttarakhand India Optel Limited
Ordnance Factory Itarsi (OFI) Itarsi Madhya Pradesh Munitions India Limited
Ordnance Factory Khamaria (OFK) Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh Munitions India Limited
Ordnance Factory Katni (OFKAT) Katni Madhya Pradesh Yantra India Limited
Ordnance Factory Muradnagar (OFM) Muradnagar Uttar Pradesh Yantra India Limited
Ordnance Factory Project (OFN) Nalanda Bihar Munitions India Limited
Ordnance Factory Project Korwa (OFPKR) Korwa Uttar Pradesh Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited
Ordnance Factory Project Medak (OFPM) Hyderabad Telangana Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited
Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli (OFT) Tiruchirappalli Tamil Nadu Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited
Ordnance Factory Varangaon (OFV) Varangaon Maharashtra Munitions India Limited
Opto Electronics Factory (OLF) Dehradun Uttarakhand India Optel Limited
Ordnance Parachute Factory (OPF) Kanpur Uttar Pradesh Gliders India Limited
Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI) Kolkata West Bengal Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited
Small Arms Factory (SAF) Kanpur Uttar Pradesh Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited
Vehicle Factory Jabalpur (VFJ) Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited

Each ordnance factory was headed by a General Manager who is in the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India.

Training institutes, regional centres and controllerates

National Academy of Defence Production provides training to the IOFS officers in areas of technology, management, public administration as induction and re-orientation courses.

There were Ordnance Factories Institutes of Learning (OFILs) in Ambajhari, Ambernath, Avadi, Dehradun, Ishapore, Khamaria, Kanpur and Medak. Each OFIL was headed by a principal director, and NADP by a senior principal director. NADP provided training to Group A officers, whilst the other eight institutes imparted training to Group B and Group C employees of the ordnance factories.

OFB had Regional marketing centres and Regional controllerates of safety as well.

Joint Ventures

In 2017, the Department of Defence Production under the Ministry of Defence opened itself to for Joint Ventures with OFB and DRDO was also tasked with identifying their products and patents, with the scope of commercial production[57]

A joint venture between Ordnance Factory Board (50.5%), Kalashnikov Concern (42%) and Rosonboronexport (7.5%) established to produce AK-203 (7.62×39mm) assault rifles intended for Indian Security Forces.[58]

Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)

Main article: Indian Ordnance Factories Service

The Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) is a civil service of the Government of India. IOFS officers are Gazetted (Group A) defence-civilian officers under the Ministry of Defence.

IOFS is a multi-disciplinary composite cadre consisting of technical – engineers (civil, electrical, mechanical, electronics), technologists (aerospace, automotive, marine, industrial/product design, computer, nuclear, optical, chemical, metallurgical, textile, leather) and non-technical/administrative (science, law, commerce, management and arts graduates). Technical posts account for about 87% of the total cadre. The doctors (surgeons and physicians) serving in OFB belong to a separate service known as the Indian Ordnance Factories Health Service (IOFHS). IOFHS officers are responsible for the maintenance of health of the employees, and the hospitals of OFB. They report directly to the IOFS officers. IOFS and IOFHS are the only two civil services under the Department of Defence Production.[59]

Products

The type of ordnance material produced is very diverse, including various small arms to missiles, rockets, bombs, grenades, military vehicles, armoured vehicles, chemicals, optical devices, parachutes, mortars, artillery pieces plus all associated ammunition, propellants, explosives and fuses.[60]

Civilian products

Civilians are required to hold an Arms License (issued only for non-prohibited bore category weapons) in order to buy firearms in India. The following products of the Indian Ordnance Factories Board are available for civilians:

Arms

Ammunition

Military Products

These products are exclusively manufactured for use by the armed forces and are not sold to civilians.

Customers

Armed Forces

The prime customers of Indian Ordnance Factories were the Indian Armed Forces viz. Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.[61][62] Apart from supplying armaments to the Armed Forces, Ordnance Factories also meet the requirements of other customers viz. the Central Armed Police Forces, State Armed Police Forces, Paramilitary Forces of India and the Special Forces of India in respect of arms, ammunition, clothing, bullet proof vehicles, mine protected vehicles etc.[21][63]

Civil trade

Customers are in the civil sector, central/state government organisations and departments such as Indian Railways, Indian Space Research Organisation, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, Nuclear Fuel Complex, Aeronautical Development Agency, Department of Atomic Energy, Department of Telecommunications, and State Electricity Boards.[64][65][66][67] Public Sector Undertakings in India (PSUs) such as HMT Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Bharat Dynamics Limited,[68] private companies and individuals etc. who purchased industrial chemicals, explosives, arms, ammunition, brass ingots, aluminium alloy products for aircraft, steel castings and forgings, vehicles, clothing and leather goods, cables and opto-electronic instruments.[69]

Exports

Arms and ammunition, weapon spares, chemicals and explosives, parachutes, leather and clothing items were exported to more than 30 countries worldwide.

Notable employees

References

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