With the Ministry of Defence opting for a self-reliance policy to boost defence production in India as a substitute for imports, the Ishapore Metal and Steel Factory (MSF) on the outskirts of Kolkata, which long begun the indigenisation journey by making ‘MilitaryGrade-Steel’, has currently contributed for making components of the Fin Stabilized Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS) rounds for the Indian Army that was launched during the ‘Atmanirbhar Week’.

An official of the MSF at Ishapore pointed out, “Though Jamshedpur is known as India’s steel citadel, the MSF has been making West Bengal proud since its inception in 1872 as part of the Gun and Shell Factory, Cossipore. The steel rolling mills were installed in 1896 and in 1905 it was relocated to a new site at Ishapore.”

An Ordnance Factory Board official in the communications division told The Statesman, “The MSF, under OFB, is a significant producer of militarygrade-steel used in both weapon systems and civilian applications. Present-day military hardware requires metals of high strength and superior toughness. MSF has facilities for state-of-art steelmaking in the form of an electric arc furnace, ladle furnace vacuum degassing, and electro steel re-melting, ensuring the production of ultra-clean steel.”

MSF sources, highlighted, “The factory developed a 60 mm diameter steel rod of GOST standard, under R&D project, for manufacturing of 125 mm FSAPDS (AMK-339) for MANGO project. Recently, the factory also manufactured steel rods of 120 mm diameter and 70 mm length as an import substitute for the same project. It was launched during the Atmanirbhar Week.”

The FSAPDS is lethal kinetic energy ammunition capable of destroying all known tank armour up to direct shooting range. An MSF official, requesting anonymity, said the factory has produced about 7000MT of steel in the financial year 2019-20 for manufacturing defence components for the Indian Army.

Commenting how the MSF steel is the backbone of Ishapore Rifle Factory in making durable high-end rifles, the official citing examples, said, “MSF supplied steel blank of 41.5 mm x 79 mm for the body of the 7.62x39mm Ghatak and 5.56x 45 mm Excalibur Assault Rifles, both having an effective range of 400m, used by defence and civilian security forces.”