The Avadi Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), located near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, is India's only manufacturer of heavy battlefield equipment. Avadi in Thiruvallur District is well known for Defense establishments like Heavy Vehicles factory and the Combat Vehicle Research Development and Establishment.
The DRDO Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE) has its origin as the Chief Inspectorate of Mechanical Transport Establishment, which was set up at Chaklala (now situated in Pakistan) during 1929 and the Technical Development Establishment (Vehicles) set up at Ahmednagar in 1947 which later transformed into Vehicle Research & Development Establishment (VRDE).
The USSR's involvement in economic activities in the southern region of India was mainly in the public/government sector like the giant Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), Bharat Heavy Electricals and the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi.
In 1965, when a decision was taken for manufacturing Vijayanta Tank, the Heavy Vehicles Factory was set up at Avadi. The first Indian-made tank Vijayanta rolled off the Avadi Heavy Vehicles factory on December 29, 1965. To render the necessary transfer of technology backup and for efficient interaction with Vickers (UK), a detachment of VRDE was established as a nucleus at Avadi. In 1965, a need was felt to set up an independent DRDO laboratory for handling tasks relating to armoured fighting vehicles. Accordingly, the detachment of VRDE Avadi was established in 1967 and this was redesignated as CVRDE to distinguish it from its sister organisation VRDE, Ahmednagar.
The repowering of Vijayanta tank entrusted to Heavy Vehicles Factory Avadi in 1990 could not take off due to Heavy Vehicle Factory's repeated failure to rectify defects in users' trials. Failure of Heavy Vehicles Factory to repower Vijayanta tank up to users' satisfaction rendered infructuous expenditure of Rs 15.99 crore on surplus stores and Civil Works.
Licensed production of the T-72M1 at Heavy Vehicles Factory is believed to have ended in 1998. During a 15-year period over 1,100 tanks were produced. The Army introduced T-72 tank as an interim main battle tank in 1979. The tanks are due for overhaul after 12/10 years. While these tanks were imported since 1979, a majority of the present fleet was imported during 1982-86. Heavy Vehicles Factory Avadi and Engine Factory Avadi were entrusted with the task to overhaul tank and engine respectively. The overall co-ordination and control was exercised by Armoured Vehicle Headquarters Avadi. The Ministry, Army Headquarters and Ordnance Factory Board between them delayed sanction and execution of the project for overhaul of T-72 main battle tank and their engines, creating a serious situation of mismatch between the demand for overhaul and the capacity. Dismal performance of Heavy Vehicles Factory and Engine Factory Avadi further aggravated the mismatch. The Heavy Vehicles Factory overhauled only 70 tanks in four years up to 1997-98 against envisaged capacity of 228. Similarly, engine Factory had been able to overhaul only 287 engines against the envisaged capacity of 553.
On 27 August 1996, the Defense Production and Supplies Secretary ordered 15 pre-production Arjun tanks from the Heavy Vehicles Factory, The first batch of Arjun Mk.1 MBTs are to be delivered to the Army during 2003/04, consisting of 125 tanks to be produced at the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi. India has finalised several long-pending defence contracts with Russia. Under one deal, India will receive 124 of Russia's top-of-the-line T-90 tanks directly and assemble another 186 at the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi.
The Kurganky Machine Building Plant is the co-producer of BMP-3 in cooperation with Avadi Heavy Vehicles Factory
The Ordnance Depot, Avadi has the unique distinction of being the only depot to handle 'A' and 'B' vehicles and also the entire range of ordnance inventory. Raised on October 9, 1944 it was then known as Central Vehicle Depot. In 1987, the additional role of ordnance depot was entrusted to it. In 1997, it assumed the transitory role for tanks as it was co-located with Heavy Vehicle Factory. The depot caters to the requirements of all types of ordnance stores except ammunition for regular units, NCC units, R & D organisations and also certain items for Navy and Air Force units located in the southern states and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Keeping pace with modern trends, the depot has computerised its inventory and the demands are processed automatically.
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