1 in 3 hand grenades is a dud: Defence survey

I-G

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1 in 3 hand grenades is a dud: Defence survey
Shishir Arya, TNN 7 September 2009, 12:25am IST


NAGPUR: Imagine a scenario in which an Indian soldier's life and the life of his mates depends on a grenade — may be the last one with the jawan —
to stop an advancing enemy. He takes the pin out and lobs it. But, instead of hearing an explosion, the jawans are met with a hail of bullets.

Unthinkable? Think again. A recent official survey of weaponry being used by soldiers guarding our borders reveals that about 30% of hand-grenades used by jawans don't explode — which means an alarming one in three is a dud. The survey, carried out by weapons experts from the Army and defence organisations, is based on interviews with jawans posted in border areas.

Sources with access to the survey report did not share the exact figures and causes of failure citing secrecy involved with defence projects, but preliminary investigations have shown that it's not unusual for detonators used in the grenades to surpass their shelf life by the time they reach the hands of a soldier in a conflict zone.

It's the detonator that separately triggers the blast in the grenade. The grenade, a crucial weapon in a soldier's armoury, is often used as the last resort to thwart the enemy in close quarter battle. Grenades supplied to the Army are made by ordnance factories under Indian State Ordnance Factory Board.

"Soldiers said the grenades often go blind — meaning they don't explode in purely technical terms — putting them in a precarious situation," said a source. Defence experts and ex-servicemen say this is an old problem that has never been properly addressed.

Col (retd) RSN Singh of 'India Defence Review' says the figure of 30% duds is stupefying. Singh, who retired from the Infantry six months ago, says, ‘‘A soldier normally carries four grenades in a counter-insurgency operation. Even a single dud can prove disastrous as it would leave the soldier vulnerable. Such duds can shake a soldier’s confidence.’’

Defence expert Col (retd) U S Rathore says India still uses World War-II vintage hand grenades. He says there are chances that the detonators are susceptible to chemical degradation and adds that terrorists have far superior Belgian grenades that explode in 2.5 seconds compared to the four seconds it takes for the Indian grenades.

India may have made an indigenous nuclear submarine. But it appears its defence establishment is yet to make a fail-proof grenade. Incidentally, a grenade can be propelled through rifles or an under-barrel grenade launcher (UBGL). But the Insas rifles used by the army don’t have launchers for grenades; soldiers have to carry the old 7.62mm rifles for that.

1 in 3 hand grenades is a dud: Defence survey - India - NEWS - The Times of India
 

natarajan

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HANDLING Blind Grenades

Grenades used by Indian army surpass their shelf-life by the time they reach the soldiers
India still uses WW-II vintage hand grenades; terrorists usually have cutting edge
Grenades are crucial as they are often a soldier’s last resort in close combat situations 30 %
of grenades used by Indian soldiers in actual conflict situations fail to burst 2.5 sec
is what it takes for a Belgian grenade to explode 4.0 sec
is time taken for Indian grenades to burst 4 Grenades are carried by an Indian jawan; statistically possible that only one would explode INSAS RIFLES
Rifles don’t have a grenade launcher, soldiers carry old 7.62 rifles for this
Jawans complain of blurred night vision devices attached to INSAS & AK-47 rifles. Mostly, not functional due to lack of maintenance
Jawans prefer hands free night vision devices such as goggles


source
 

Ray

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I really wonder if WWII grenades are still in service. This is news to me, since the practise is that ammunition is 'turned over' i.e. first line is converted into training ammunition when a new lot arrives which becomes the 'first line'.

Between 1945 and today it is over 60 years! Given the amount of ammunition used, such grenades would have been consumed as 'training ammunition' long time ago. And then there is annual inspection of all ammunition by ammunition experts who declare ammunition as 'serviceable' or 'unserviceable'.

Therefore, the claim is a bit incomprehensible, though I will agree that there can be duds due to poor storage after the inspection by the ammunition specialists.

As far as the the time differential between throwing the grenade the 4 sec has proved sufficient. Shorter duration has its own complications.

I wonder if there are 'vested interests' involved!
 

Flint

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I think the grenades are supposed to be WW-II technology, rather than 60+ years old.
 

Ray

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A grenade is supposed to burst and fling with high speed chunks of metal.

It is honeycombed with the weaker section which break on being denoted and because of the explosive throws the chunks of metal at high velocity 360 degrees.

What could be specialised about that?

I am not too sure because I am not a scientist.
 

Vinod2070

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^^ Yep my thoughts too.

However, the "sudden" nature of the "revelation" should not be discounted. There may well be vested interests at play here.

Also a bit immature to make such info being made public before corrective action is taken.
 

Flint

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Also a bit immature to make such info being made public before corrective action is taken.
In India, no action is taken unless it is made public. So better that it be made public when it can be corrected.
 

tharikiran

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It's better if media brings out any deficiencies in the defense forces. Wakes up the generals and the politicians. If it's wrong info, then the enemy gets to underestimate us. Nothing to loose.
 

ssingh49

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This article is written very poorly, I wonder how TOI has managed to survive as a news company with these kinds articles.

I am a Business major at ASU and I can tell you that the statistics used in the article are very misleading.

First of all the article fails to even address the sample size and I seriously doubt they could have sample all of Indian Army's inventory. Now the next question is who did they sampled. did they sample soldiers grenades in J&K or the soldiers guarding the border?

next is how did they come up with that 30% number? They use the term average but average includes mode, mean, and range. And all of these methods will give you a different average.

TOI just published the article because of it's shock value, this is very amateurish reporting.
 

thakur_ritesh

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This article is written very poorly, I wonder how TOI has managed to survive as a news company with these kinds articles.

I am a Business major at ASU and I can tell you that the statistics used in the article are very misleading.

First of all the article fails to even address the sample size and I seriously doubt they could have sample all of Indian Army's inventory. Now the next question is who did they sampled. did they sample soldiers grenades in J&K or the soldiers guarding the border?

next is how did they come up with that 30% number? They use the term average but average includes mode, mean, and range. And all of these methods will give you a different average.

TOI just published the article because of it's shock value, this is very amateurish reporting.
great points highlighted there, mate, and sadly this kind of a senseless reporting runs right across our media and as it is the ToI and its sister concerns are known to sensationalise every thing they report or how else will their readership or viewership increase.

take a look at the most important survey they do every few months which follows a state election or a national election and we have all been a witness to the fact that they are woefully off mark in their exit polls and here they take the most precautions because the results are out in another few days, which helps to cross check their claims. when they can not get it right when the stakes are the highest, then well, all such surveys are best left as just another attempt to push their revenue figures.
 

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