Ina bid to promote awareness on Indian Army’s modernisation needs, discovering capabilities of the industry and encouraging long terms research in academia at various industrial hubs across the country, Indian Army is making all out efforts to reach out to the industry and academia in every nook and corner of the country.
Supported by industry associations including CII and FICCI, the Indian Army under an effort spearheaded by India’s Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Subrata Saha, UYSM, YSM, VSM** and his team of senior army officers have been extensively interacting with industry bodies and academia to take forward its objective of modernising the Army’s need by way of indigenous solutions.
These interactions are also in line with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India Drive” and Defence Minister’s Manohar Parrikar’s push for modernisation through indigenization. To achieve this, the India Army’s team under Gen Saha has been seeking “Generation Next” solutions from the Industry while posing “Problem Definition” challenges to the academia to address its needs.
About 20 plus such interactions have been held so far with the industry (that includes large, medium, small, MSMEs and start-ups) and academia (including various IITs and DRDO). These events provided an exclusive opportunity to the industry and academia representatives to understand the requirements and interact with the top brass of Indian Army and seek clarifications directly from the user.
The latest in the series of such interactions that took place on Sep 2 at IISC, Bangalore, General Subrata Saha gave an impressive talk on “Indian Army’s Niche Industrial Requirements – Opportunities for Start-ups, MSMEs & Niche Technology Players.”
Later during his interactive session, Gen Saha and his team held discussions on the problems being faced by Startups & MSMEs in taking proven technology to “Finished Products” required by the user (Indian Army).
Some important problems defined included appropriately designed light-weight cold protection clothing, bullet-proof jackets, robots, pressure and temperature regulated modular cabins, smart sensors /detection devices, survival kits, body wellness analysers/detectors worn by soldiers in high altitude, night vision devices, composite helmets and nano surveillance aerial vehicles.
The Sep 2 interaction at IISC Bangalore was organised by industry association FICCI. A presentation was also made by Gen Saha’s senior team of officials on “War-fighting & Problem Definition”. It was highlighted how the provisions of the DPP 2016 under ‘IDDM’ & ‘Make’ categories could assist them.
This was followed by a second session in which the IISC Faculty gave presentations on “Overview of Research Activities and Industry Collaborations at IISC”. The work done by IISC was highlighted included BrahMos Missile Programme, Mobile Adhoc Network (MANET), Image Processing and Speech Identification.
This was then followed by another panel discussion on “Strategies to Facilitate Research Collaborations and Technology Insertion”. Presentations were made by the industry that included Accord Software & System, Autotech and SLN Technologies.
The panel discussed ways to address start up issues and decided to meet at future suitable time and date, at IISC, to find workable solutions to the “Problem Definitions” challenges posed by the Indian Army.
On his part, Gen Saha concluded by telling the audience of eminent industrialists and academia that he looks forward to “Winning India’s Wars with Indian Solutions”.
The Army’s presentation team also introduced the audience to the organisation, role & charter of the newly launched Army Design Bureau launched by chief of Army Staff, GenDalbir Singh
The Army Design Bureau (ADB), the interface of the Indian Army, aims to provide a better understanding of the Army’s requirements to the academia, research organisations and the industry for developing high tech defence products.
ADB will be a “single point contact” and a platform for an interaction between the army and academia, the defence public sector units (PSU), private players to understand the requirements of the army.
The setting up of ADB comes in the wake of rapid changes in technology and consequent changes in war fighting techniques that requires the ultimate user—the Indian Army to be constantly involved at every stage from conceptualisation to design to development trails and production to sustenance.
Launching the ADB and its website, Gen Singh said the army will come out with a compendium which would help the research and development fraternity in developing indigenous solutions for the force’s modernisation needs.
In the run-up to the setting up of the ADB, the Indian Army in a first has undertaken a series of Army-Industry-Academia interactions since January this year.
A website was also launched by the COAS detailing all the 10 Make Projects for the Indian Army. These projects includes 125 mm Smooth Bore Barrel with Gun Article, improved ammunition for T-72 and T-90 tanks, 1000 HP engines for T-72 tanks and auxiliary power units for T-90 tanks and others.
These projects have been discussed with the industry and research agencies. In addition, Indian Army is also considering more projects that will be taken up in Make category and the preliminary process for the same is underway.
Gen Singh also emphasized that the Ministry of Defence can make successful use of MAKE projects in import substitution which needs to be accelerated as private industry has time and again proved that they have the requisite technologies, technical competence and capabilities to deliver the solutions. He said that these are the low hanging fruits which the Ministry of Defence can start working on immediately. With increasing levels of import substitution, India will be closer to its goal of