India imposes sanctions on seven defence projects to boost private sector involvement

India is strengthening its position and becoming a serious player in the defence market: a representative image.

India is strengthening its position and becoming a serious player in the defence market: a representative image. (Archive photo)

NEW DELHI: In a bid to boost private sector contribution to defence and aerospace production, the government on Thursday decided to approve seven new projects under the Technology Development Fund (TDF) scheme. While it will support industries, especially SMEs and start-ups, the move is part of a larger plan to reduce the country’s dependence on defence imports.

These approved projects will be aimed at meeting various requirements of the Armed Forces and the Aerospace and Defence sectors. The TDF programme is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Defence implemented by DRDO under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. It has various objectives including providing subsidies to help Indian industries.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a statement said these project sanctions “are a testimony to DRDO’s continuous efforts in supporting industries, especially SMEs and start-ups, in the defence and aerospace domain. Indigenous development of these technologies will strengthen the military-industrial ecosystem.”

The approved projects include a scenario simulation toolkit and indigenous sensors, a submarine-launched unmanned aerial vehicle, long-range remotely operated ships for detection and neutralization, and development of an Indian regional navigation satellite system for timing and data dissemination.

The other three projects approved for the private sector include the development of an ice detection sensor for aircraft, the development of a radar signal processor with an active antenna array simulator, and the development of graphene-based smart and electronic textiles for multifunctional wearable applications.

The Scenario Simulation and Indigenous Sensors Toolkit involves developing an indigenous toolkit for training pilots in realistic scenario simulators. This will help in comprehensive mission planning and large force engagement. The project has been awarded to a Noida, Uttar Pradesh-based start-up, Oxygen 2 Innovation Pvt. Ltd.

The Underwater Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle project awarded to Sagar Defence Engineering Pvt Ltd of Pune, Maharashtra, is for a versatile naval combat accessory that can be used in multiple combat roles. The objective is Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

The Long Range Remotely Operated Vehicles for Detection and Neutralization are dual-use systems that will enable detection, classification, localization and neutralization of underwater objects while keeping key assets away from the suspected operational area. The project has been awarded to a start-up, IROV Technologies Pvt Limited, Kochi.

Bengaluru-based Craftlogic Labs Pvt. Ltd. will develop an ice detection sensor for aircraft. The aim of this project is to develop a sensor that can detect in-flight icing, caused by supercooled water droplets that freeze on impact with the aircraft’s external surfaces and are used by the aircraft to activate its anti-icing mechanism.

The Radar Signal Processor with Active Antenna Array Simulator, to be developed by Data Pattern (India) Limited, Chennai, will enable the deployment of multiple target systems for testing and evaluating multiple short-range airborne weapon systems. It will serve as a basic building block for larger radar systems.

The project for development of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System based on Timing Acquisition and Dissemination System has been approved by Accord Software and Systems Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru. The objective of this project is to enable indigenization of time acquisition and dissemination system, use Indian Constellation for time acquisition and develop customized and flexible timing system as per the coverage requirements.

Coimbatore-based startup Alohatech Private Limited has received approval to implement a project that will involve the production of advanced nanocomposite textile materials utilising their advantages in practical clothing applications.

Alohatech will develop graphene-based smart and electronic textiles for multifunctional applications in wearable devices.

As previously reported, an independent defense industrial base is an indicator of strategic autonomy in the international arena. It also helps avoid possible coercion by supplier nations. India has been a leading arms importer for years.

While the country has imported weapons and equipment from Russia for decades, it now sources its requirements from a variety of countries, including Israel, France and the U.S. India became the largest arms importer in 2007 and has largely maintained that position since 2009.

DRDO is the Research and Development (R&D) wing of the Ministry of Defence, tasked with working on cutting-edge defence technologies to achieve self-sufficiency in critical defence technologies and systems. DRDO also manufactures equipment for our armed forces with state-of-the-art weapon systems and equipment as per the requirements specified by the three services.