The Indian Army is ready to enhance its lethality of the infantry by replacing its vintage hand grenade M-36 HE grenades to the advanced, multi-mode grenade (MMG)- "Shivalik". The induction of these indigenous grenades would save the country Rs 200 crore every year.
The Army has placed an order of 18 lakh grenades to replace the existing M-36 HE grenades, the original version of which dates back to the Second World War. The most characteristic feature of Shivalik grenade is that it doesn't explode until the safety pin is removed unlike the existing vintage grenade, which may go off accidentally.
As the grenade has been developed by Terminal Ballistic Research Laboratory (TBRL), a laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organization ( DRDO), located in the foothills of Shivalik mountains near Chandigarh, it has been named as Shivalik.
The grenade would be made at the ordinance factory Khamaria in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh besides army, TBRL has also been receiving orders from the Navy and paramilitary forces for Shivalik.
The Shivalik is multi mode i.e can be used for offensive as well as defensive purpose. During offensive, it is used at the final stage of assault by the troops from a distance of around 50 m from the line of enemy defence. During defensive mode, the grenade is used against the enemy troops in the open as a shield.Types can be interchanged by changing outer sleeve.
Developed by DRDO’s Chandigarh-based Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, the new grenade overcomes the safety hazards posed by the existing grenades. The M-36, according to the DRDO, has a severe reliability problem due to its flawed fusing system and uneven fragmenting pattern, making it unsafe even for the thrower.
Shivalik uses a modular plastic body and pre-formed cylindrical mild steel fragments for uniform distribution of fragments to overcome these deficiencies. Additional features have been incorporated into the fuse’s arming mechanism to ensure greater safety during storage, transportation and airdropping. Fragmentation distribution can also be controlled for use in offensive or defensive roles by attachment of a fragmentation sleeve. The use of plastic has also resulted in reduction of the grenade’s overall weight. Unlike earlier grenades, it can be para-dropped if urgent re-supplies are needed and can function in temperatures ranging from minus 20 to 55°C.Modular Design: Shivalik has three basic modules—fuze, grenade body and launcher tube. The different modules can be assembled or dissembled with ease. It is possible to prime and unprime the grenade any number of times without affecting its efficiency. The fuze assembly forms the basic module. With the explosive filled non-splintering body, it forms an offensive grenade. Addition of fragmenting sleeve transforms it into defensive grenade and the attachment of a launch tube converts it into a rifle grenade.
Multi-Mode Concept: Shivalik is multi-functional depending on the situation. In offensive role, it is used in the final stages of assault from a distance of about 50 m from the line of enemy defence. Being non-splintering type, offensive grenade on detonation stuns the enemy through concussion effect within a radius of about 5 m from the point of burst. In the defensive mode, it is used against the enemy troops in open when our own troops are in defence. The controlled and uniform spread of the fragments from the fragmenting sleeve can incapacitate a human being within a specified radius from the point of burst, but causes no harm to our own troops beyond a certain predetermined distance.
The technology of the prefragmented pellets, embedded in a plastic matrix has been fully established. The main bursting charge is precast pellet (RDX/TNT), the technology for which has been developed indigenously. The bullet trap technology has been incorporated in the launching tube, which enables use of normal ball ammunition for its launch from 5.56 mm INSAS rifle.
Fuze: The fuze has been designed to function on impact with a guarantee of self-destruction due to incorporation of a predetermined delay. The fuze functions at all angles of impact. An additional safety mechanism has been provided by a shutter mechanism blocking the explosive train. A safety lever mechanism has been incorporated to hold the safety pin secured. In rifle grenade lever is secured by a metallic ring which flies back due to set back forces on firing arming the fuze after a safe distance
Sight: A bubble sight has been provided for mounting on the rifle to aid the firer to achieve the desired ranges at different firing angles. The maximum range achieved by the rifle grenade is 200 m in comparison to 120 m presently achieved from M 36 grenade.
The grenade body has been made very light and compact by using special polymers. The shape is more ergonomical. The grenade, besides being paradroppable, can be used in the temperature range of -20 oC to +55 oC and is not affected by rain or humidity conditions. The grenade is maintenance free. The Shivalik grenade is in the final stages of user trials. With its introduction into the Services, it will substantially contribute to the infantry’s capabilities in the battlefield and the country will move one step forward towards its mission of self-reliance.
The grenade has three basic modules - fuze, body and launcher tube. The different modules can be assembled or dissembled with ease. It is possible to prime and unprime the grenade any number of times without affecting its efficiency.