ARMY TO BUILD TUNNELS TO STORE AMMUNITION
25, Apr 2019
Prelims level : Defence Mains level : Developments in Science and Technology
Why in News:
- Indian Army is planning to construct underground tunnels for storage of ammunition along the border with China and Pakistan
- The Army has also involved the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd (NHPC), a public sector undertaking, to construct the caves or tunnels and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will soon be signed with the NHPC.
- The Army is also increasing its ammunition stockpile. Last year, it had finalised a Rs15,000 crore long-term plan to get domestic private sector players to manufacture seven different types. Army needs specialised areas to store them. The tunnels and caves would be constructed and NHPC was chosen for the task because of its best technical expertise, capability and capacity to construct them without any glitches. Major armies, including China and the U.S., already use underground ammunition storage.
- The tunnels will be built-in high-altitude areas in the Northern and Eastern borders. Number of caverns with storage capacity of 200 metric tonnes will be built in mountain folds in identified areas.
- Four pilot projects would be taken up at four different locations along the Northern border and in Jammu and Kashmir at a cost of 15 crore and are expected to be completed within two years. A range of ammunition used by the Army, ranging from bullets, rockets to anti- tank and surface to air missiles, can be stored in the caverns.
- It is cost-effective and each such cave or tunnel would have a capacity between 150 to 250 metric tonnes. Underground tunnel storage offers improved safety, easier camouflage from enemy observation and satellite imagery and protection from enemy strikes like Balakot air strike when Pakistan Air Force jets targeted Indian army installations along the Line of Control (LoC).
- Even it had many advantages, it ensures better safety of sensitive ammunition minimising accidental explosions.