The Navy, which pioneered indigenization decades ago and promulgated the Indian Navy Indigenisation Plan (INIP) 2015-2030 in 2014 to facilitate indigenous development of equipment and systems, is now stepping up indigenization activities, particularly in the areas of weapons and aviation.
This is in keeping with the government’s push to reduce defence imports and enhance domestic manufacture, which has become even more urgent as a result of Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and the Indian military’s large-scale reliance on Russian guns and equipment.
“Under the INIP, the Navy has indigenised over 3400 items to far, including over 2000 machinery and electrical spares, over 1000 aircraft spares, and over 250 weapon spares.” The current Naval Aviation Indigenisation Roadmap (NAIR) 2019-22 is also being updated.
The updated NAIR 2022-27 includes all fast-moving aircraft obligatory spares and high-cost indigenous maintenance, according to one official.
The battle component (weapons) is receiving special attention because it still has a long way to go compared to the float and move components, according to the official. Float is made up of the ship, move is made up of the propulsion, and fight is made up of weapons and sensors.
“The Navy has a leg up on the competition. Several measures were taken early on in this area, according to a Navy official.
In order to do this, four in-house indigenisation committees for naval aircraft spares have been established. At addition, Naval Liaison Cells (NLCs) have been designated as “indigenisation cells” in various locations.
According to the Navy, there are currently 41 ships and submarines under construction, 39 of which are being built in Indian shipyards and 47 of which have received preliminary approval from the Ministry of Defense. According to officials, Indian vendors have been awarded 78 percent of Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) and 68 percent of contracts since 2014.
According to the officer stated above, the Navy is collaborating with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and industry to shorten development schedules. “Startups and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are performing admirably.”
Anti-Submarine Weapons and sensors, Satcom and electronic warfare equipment, Anti-Ship Missiles and Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles, combat management system, software defined radios, network encryption devices, Link II communication system, main batteries for submarines, distress sonar system, missile and torpedo components, and so on are some of the focus areas.
According to officials, the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO), which was established in August 2020 by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, provides a flexible and accessible interface for academia and industry to interact with the Indian Navy capability development apparatus.
Navy employees have filed 36 IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) petitions in the last two years.
Since the establishment of NIIO, over two IPR applications have been filed every month, and technology transfer to 12 MSMEs has already been completed,” according to another defence official.
The Navy has now forwarded user feedback to DRDO cluster headquarters via Naval Project Management Teams, and two such clusters are already operating. The official stated that these have interfaced with DRDO labs and their Development cum Production Partners (DcPP) to provide user feedback at every level to 15 futuristic Technology and 100+ DRDO projects currently underway for the development of the Indian Navy’s combat capacity.
The Navy has more than 20 Make I and Make II cases in various stages of development under various domestic procurement procedures. When comparing highly skilled and technology-intensive warship production to commercial shipbuilding, Navy Chiefs have previously stated that the manpower required to construct a commercial ship of approximately 30,000 tonnes is less than the manpower required to construct a warship of approximately 6,000 tonnes.
Furthermore, studies reveal that one worker engaged in a shipyard has a multiplier effect of around 6.4 on ancillary businesses, according to a senior officer.