ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka army plans to manufacture live ammunition for light weapons in the future, in hopes of retaining the outflow of forex in the country as the island nation struggles to increase its foreign reserves, State Minister of Defence Bandara Tennakoon said.
Currently, uniform materials, body armors, and combat helmets are being produced for troops in the army-owned manufacturing facilities in Veyangoda.
“The government hopes to develop this facility going forward, and in the future, we hope to produce the ammunition we need for our light weapons we use in the army in this facility,” Minister Tennakoon said.
Light weapons in the Army include the type 56 (T56) assault rifle, 9mm pistol, and lightweight machine gun.
“At the moment, we are spending around 36-37 rupees per bullet when importing,” Brigadier Ravi Herath, the Army spokesman, told EconomyNext.
“And we have regular firing sessions such as Annual firing and training, which will cost millions, as one officer will need approximately around 300 bullets for one of these sessions.”
Sri Lanka’s budget experts raised concerns over higher defense allocation in the 2023 budget and said the move gives the wrong signal on rationalizing public spending.
President Wickremesighe, who is also the defense minister, allocated 539 billion rupees for both defense and public security.
The high defense budget comes when the country’s armed forces are not fighting any external or internal war. (Colombo/June 01/2023)