The Indian Army attempting a major rework of weapons design and procurement involving both industry and academia in its long-term perspective plan by setting up a design bureau for indigenization.
“The idea is to bring together academic institutions and the industry to develop indigenous knowhow. Knowledge and ideas are with academia, while industry has the resources. The interactions are meant to identify a series of projects which can be taken under the ADB,” a senior Army officer was quoted as saying by the Hindu Sunday.
In order to identify joint development projects in critical areas, Lt. Gen. Subrata Saha, Deputy Chief of Army-Planning and Systems is currently holding a series of interactions with the academic institutions and industry across the country and sharing the Army’s long-term requirements.
Some 4-5 teams have been set up which are working on few prototypes and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Mumbai and Kharagpur are set to join the effort.
“We are willing to share our long-term perspective plans to the extent possible so various stakeholders are aware of our requirements and the Army is involved in the design and development from the preliminary stage,” the officer added.
Some of the priority areas the Army is looking at include small arms, smart munitions, communication and electronic warfare systems and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), both surveillance and combat.
The Army, which has been traditionally reluctant to engage with the industry, is now opening up with the government’s emphasis on ‘Make in India’.
While the idea is welcome, there is need for policy clarity on how these projects will work within the larger Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) which guides all defence procurements. In fact, DPP 2016 has created a new category, indigenous Design Development and Manufacturing, which will be the preferred procurement route for procurement.