Lt General J P Singh (retd), former deputy chief of Army and consultant DRDO, thinks that it is time for India to get into another cycle of designing, developing and manufacturing defence equipment in the country. Though he agrees that some components and technologies have to be imported as of now, slowly these can also be replaced with indigenous developments in the defence sector.
While speaking at the round-table conference on ‘Reforms in Defence Procurement- Opportunities for the Northern Region’ moderated by Lt General K J Singh (Retd), former army commander, Western Command, Lt General J P Singh said, any equipment has roughly a cycle of around 30 to 40 years and India has already reached the completion of this cycle for artillery. Currently, India is completing this cycle for tanks, and combat vehicles. The cycle for helicopters had been completed 10 years back.
“There is a particular cyclic acquisition which takes place. Every army, even the most advanced army, cannot afford to have all equipment which is state-of-art. What we require is 30% state-of-art equipment, 40% matured equipment and 30% functional equipment which are going towards obsolescence. In the time to come, as technology goes up, more innovations come in and at a particular time, what is state-of art actually steps down to the matured technology, the matured technology comes down to those reaching obsolescence level spectrum and then you start pushing out the equipment. Any equipment which you are taking has a cycle of about 30-40 years. We are reaching this 40 years of cycle in many of our big equipment,” said Singh.
He added that there are too many verticals inside the ministry of defence. There is an acquisition wing and also a production wing. They work separately and the support and sustenance part can actually come from either of these. He highlighted that India does not have a consolidated defence acquisition and support and a DG combining them.