Kuala Lumpur (The Star/ANN) - The Malaysian Defence Ministry is taking a further step in having a self-reliant local defence industry that manufactures artillery and rocket propellants for munitions.
Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Pyrotechnical Ordnance Malaysia Sdn Bhd (POMSB) would start production of the propellant at its 16.6ha plant in Bentong, Pahang, late next year.
"The armed forces used to import propellants for its munitions, but now they will be manufactured locally," he said after witnessing the signing of a joint-venture agreement between Boustead Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd (BDTSB) and Prokhas Manager Sdn Bhd.
He said the 58mil ringgit (US$19.3mil) project, which involved research and development by the country's Science Technology Research for Defence Institute, was carried out with assistance from a Slovakian propellant manufacturer Constructa.
He said the locally-made propellant would be initially used for the production of munitions for the 30mm and 155mm guns used by the armed forces.
The move would also help lower munition production costs.
"We are looking at addressing the munitions needs of the armed forces with the long-term goal of supplying the propellants to our partners under the Asean Defence Industry Collaboration programme," he added.
On a separate issue, Zahid said he was willing to take the stand in court over allegations raised by Suaram over the procurement of the French-made Scorpene submarines.