Business & DefencePolicy & Govt

18 Military Platforms, Including Directed Energy Weapons And Long-range UAVs, Will Be Developed By Domestic Industry

Story Highlights
  • The Defence Ministry announced on Friday (11 March) that the private sector has been tasked with designing and developing 18 significant platforms, including directed energy weapons, naval ship-borne Unmanned Aerial Systems, and light weight tanks.
  • Long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter have been considered as platforms for development under the SPV model (IMRH).

The Defence Ministry announced on Friday (11 March) that the private sector has been tasked with designing and developing 18 significant platforms, including directed energy weapons, naval ship-borne Unmanned Aerial Systems, and light weight tanks.

The move is part of the ministry’s bigger strategy to bolster the domestic defence sector.

Other key platforms to be developed under the initiative include a hypersonic glide vehicle, unmanned autonomous AI-based land robot, 127 mm naval gun, electric propulsion (engines) for ships, and standoff airborne jammer, in addition to directed energy weapons, naval ship borne Unmanned Aerial System, and light weight tanks.

According to the ministry, 18 important platforms have been designated for industry-led design and development, in line with the government’s goal of increasing defence manufacturing self-sufficiency.

Under the ‘Make-I’ category of the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020, the private sector is developing 14 platforms, according to the defence ministry.

The ‘Make’ Category of the DAP 2020 aspires to achieve self-sufficiency by involving more Indian industry. This category includes initiatives involving the design and construction of equipment, systems, key platforms, or updates thereto by the industry, according to the statement.

The Ministry of Defence would fund up to 70% of the total cost of prototype development for projects in the Make-I sub-category. According to the government, two platforms will be built under the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) paradigm.

Under the SPV model, private industry will be encouraged to collaborate with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and other organisations to design and manufacture military systems and equipment.

Long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the Indian Multi-Role Helicopter have been considered as platforms for development under the SPV model (IMRH).

Under the iDEX programme, which promotes start-ups and MSMEs, a platform dubbed Low Orbit Pseudo Satellites will be built. Anti-jamming systems for numerous platforms are being developed under the ‘Make-II’ category, according to the ministry.

The initiatives in the ‘Make-II’ category are funded by the private sector with government procurement guaranteed. According to the ministry, four large platforms have already received Approval-In-Principle (AIP) under the Make-I category, out of a total of 18 big platforms.

Communication System (AFNET System Switches, Routers, Encryptors, and VOIP Phones); EO Pod (with subsequent upgrading to EO/IR) with high resolution sensing; Standoff Airborne Jammer; and Light Weight Tanks are the four platforms awarded AIP.

According to the ministry, developing these projects domestically will assist the domestic defence sector harness its design strengths and establish India as a design leader in these technologies.

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