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DRDO inks deal to make key alloy

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Wednesday signed a technology transfer agreement with Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Limited (JSHL) for manufacturing High Nitrogen Steel (HNS). The alloy has significant applications in the defence sector, but currently the country is largely dependent on imports.

The “non-exclusive” licencing agreement for armour applications was signed between the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), the Hyderabad-based laboratory of the DRDO and the JSHL.

Officials said HNS steel, which has a much higher ballistic strength than normal steel, will free the country of imports.

“HNS is not only tough but also has good strength. In addition to being non-magnetic and corrosion-resistant, the HNS cost is about 40% less compared to Rolled Homogenous Armour Steel (RHA),” DRDO said in a statement.

Better materials

Dr. Subhash Bhamre, Minister of State for Defence, noted that the HNS technology would further the Army’s quest for lighter and high-performance armouring material compared to materials currently in use.

The JSHL said in a statement that HNS had passed multiple levels of ballistic tests in different calibres, with 8-10 times higher impact/blast protection.

“We are looking at production of 15,000 to 20,000 tonnes of HNS per annum initially, which will be increased gradually. It will be priced 30-40% cheaper than the imported material,” Mr. Abhyuday Jindal, Vice-Chairman JSHL, said.

HNS, by virtue of its strength and characteristics, has potential application in all armoured vehicles, and the JSHL has several upcoming programmes, including the Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV), Light Specialty Vehicle (LSV) and such others.

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