With Indian Army jawans expected to remain stationed at high altitudes in Ladakh during winter amidst Indo-China tension, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is still waiting for the army to conduct field trials of its manufactured samples of Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS) before procurement.
The ECWCS will help the soldiers beat the extreme sub-zero temperature in coming months. The government owned Kolkata-based defence manufacturer, the OFB, has completed modifications on the ECWCS samples as suggested by the Army and is now awaiting field trials.
An OFB official told The Statesman, “ECC (extreme cold climate) items are used at altitudes ranging from 8000ft-12000 ft with temperature up to minus 20 degree Celsius. The SCME (special clothing & mountaineering equipment) items are meant for high altitudes at and beyond 18000 ft in minus 50 degrees and wind velocity of 40 km per hour.”
“Some ECC & SCME items regularly manufactured and supplied to Army and the Central Armed Police Forces by the Ordnance Factories are ECC coat and trousers, balaclavas, gloves, jacket windcheater, carry packs etc. Some SCME items are imported by the Army but a list of 10 items that were categorised under Atmanirbhar Bharat as import substitute, fall in the range of Ordnance Equipment Factory (OEF) group and ECWCS is one such item” said the official.
However, OFB feels indigenisation is though a prudent policy but will hardly yield benefit unless materialised. “ECWCS samples were developed in 2017 in collaboration with IIT Delhi and submitted to Army for trials along with Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).