The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has come down heavily on Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) based in Chandigarh and Panchkula for failing to achieve objectives of projects even after spending crores of rupees.
The audit’s report submitted in the Parliament on December 18, studied 38 projects undertaken by the lab and found that only 24 were completed fully. Out of these, all the objectives as enumerated in the sanction had been achieved only in 10 projects. “Thus, the success rate in achieving the objectives of the projects was only 42 percent,” says CAG.
The lab which is functioning under the technical control of the Director General Missiles and Strategic System (MSS) since September 2013 conducts basic and applied research in the fields of high explosives processing, detonics, defeat of armour and performance of warheads and other armament systems.
GRENADE FUSE DELAY NOT ACHIEVED
The work for development of multimode grenade to replace the existing grenade by a lighter version was assigned to TBRL in 1989 at a sanctioned cost of Rs 98 lakh with the objective of achieving a delay time of fuse for multimode grenade between 3.5 and 4.5 seconds.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) sanctioned (June 2000) another project for manufacturing of 2,000 grenades after extended user trials at a cost of Rs 24.8 lakh. The project was closed by TBRL in June 2003 after declaring it successful. There was, however no specific mention about the time delay in the closure report.
In March 2010, MoD placed supply order on Ordnance Factory Board (to which the technology was transferred) to arrange supply of 10 lakh grenades at a total cost of Rs 193.80 crore. But after receipt of only 35,000 grenades costing Rs 6.78 crore, the army intimated TBRL (November 2011) that the detonating time delay of the grenade was ranging between 2.5 and 5 seconds against 3.5 to 4.5 seconds as required. “The TBRL failed to develop the lighter version of the grenade with enhanced capability even after lapse of nearly 25 years and incurring an expenditure of Rs 8.20 crore,” says CAG.
In February 2009, a Technology Demonstration (TD) five-year project was taken up by TBRL at a cost of Rs 13.7 crore. Under the project, technology for design of high energy shaped charge warhead to defeat deep buried command and control bunkers, double hull submarines and design of high energy multi-P charge based warheads for defeat of naval ship and aerial targets were to be developed. Despite the limited success of the project, chairman executive review committee of 11th plan projects, however, recommended closure of project (January 2014).
DEVELOPMENT OF SLAPPER DETONATORS
The MOD sanctioned the Rs 4.29-crore project in November 2002 to be completed in 42 months. The project was closed in 2006, terming it as successful. “The TBRL did not make proper study of voltage matching of detonator with warhead before taking up the project. The objectives framed for the project were therefore inaccurate,” the CAG observed.