By Col NB Saxena
New Delhi. 31 August 2016. General Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) launched the Army Design Bureau during an Army Seminar on Make Projects. The Army has identified ten projects under ‘Make’ category for manufacturing by domestic defence industry. The Indian Army is also going to publish a comprehensive compendium giving out specific problem definitions, which shall help the R&D fraternity in developing indigenous solutions for the Army’s modernization needs.
A K Gupta, Secretary Defence Production was present for the event which was attended by a large number of dignitaries and senior representatives of Indian Industry, Academia and leading research agencies. The COAS also launched the ‘Make in India Army Website’ which was hosted live during the inaugural session of the Seminar.
General Dalbir Singh, in his keynote address, highlighted that the Indian Army takes pride in using indigenous products and that we should aim to reduce imports of defence inventory while pushing for indigenisation. He also brought out that a lot of spare parts and inventory of the Army which were being procured through imports, did not involve high end technology and as such could be made by domestic Industries.
Appreciating the recent initiatives of the Army, the Industry and Academia have pledged their whole hearted support to facilitate ‘Make in India’ vision of the Government, promote Indian Army’s quest for Modernisation through Indigenisation and develop capacities and capabilities of fighting Indian Wars with Indian Solutions.
During his annual press brief on the occasion of Army Day 2016, the COAS had announced that the Indian Army was soon going to have its own Design Bureau. Rapid changes in technology and consequent changes in war fighting techniques, requires the user ie Army to be constantly involved at every stage from conceptualization, design, development, trials, and production to sustenance. To facilitate the same, the Army Design Bureau was conceptualized as an interface of the Army with DRDO, Academia, DPSUs, OFBs and private industry paving the way for high quality research and development of defence products.
In the run up to the establishment of Army Design Bureau, the Indian Army undertook series of Army – Industry – Academia interactions since January this year. Lt Gen Subrata Saha, DCOAS (P&S), and his team of officers have been carrying out extensive interactions with a view to promoting awareness on Army’s modernization needs, discovering capabilities of the Industry and encouraging long term research in the academia at various regional industrial hubs across the country. Twenty such interactive sessions have been carried out till date.
Industry captains of major defence industries, MSMEs, Start ups have participated in these sessions. In addition, the team has carried out interactions with a number of leading Institutes like IITs at Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Gandhinagar and PSG Institute of Technology, Coimbatore. These events provide an exclusive opportunity to industry and academia representatives to understand the requirements and interact with the army to seek clarifications directly from the user.
In order to streamline the procurement process further, the Army has also initiated a number of other steps to include structural changes in the procurement organisations and issue of compendium of revised SOPs in line with the DPP 2016.
Recently, for information of industry and the research agencies, ten projects were indentified and uploaded on the MoD website including 125 mm Smooth Bore Barrel with Gun Article, improved ammunition for T-72 and T-90 tanks, 1000 HP engines for T-72, Individual Under Water Breathing Apparatus, Environment Control Unit and Auxiliary Power Units for T-90 tanks Advanced Pilotless Target Aircrafts, Maneuverable Expendable Aerial Targets, Tracked Light Dozers, Assault Track Way and Modern Aircraft Refueling Pump. The Indian Army is considering more projects to be taken up in Make category, for which the preliminary process is already on.