Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday announced a fresh import ban list of 98 military hardware to boost domestic defence industry with other announcements during the plenary session of ‘Swavlamban 2.0’, the two-day seminar of Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) organised by the Indian Navy in the capital.
This is the fifth ‘positive indigenisation list’, including complex systems, sensors, weapons and ammunition, that will only be procured from the domestic industry after a ban on their import kicks in under a staggered timeline. The key items included in the list are futuristic infantry combat vehicles, remotely piloted airborne vehicles (up to 25 km range with a payload of 2 kg for Army), shipborne unmanned aerial systems, medium upgrade low endurance class tactical drones, next-generation low-level light radar for Army, very high-frequency radar, and electro-optic fire control system for naval platforms.
The list also comprised armour plates for the cabin nose section for Mi-17 helicopters, multifunction aviation ground equipment for the Air Force, gravity rollers for Mi-17 V5 helicopters and flares of P-8I and MiG 29-K aircraft.
The new positive indigenisation list of 98 items continues, with the first four lists containing 411 military items totalling 509. The four lists were announced in August 2020, May 2021, April 2022 and October 2022.
“The list lays special focus on import substitution of components of major systems, besides important platforms, weapon systems, sensors and munitions, which are being developed and likely to translate into firm orders in the next five to 10 years,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
At the event, the Defence Minister also launched 76 challenges for the industry under the 10th Defence India Start-up Challenges (DISC 10) and DISC 10 PRIME of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) and five problem statements under iDEX for Fauji. iDEX is the flagship scheme under the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to encourage innovation in the defence sector. In addition, the Minister launched two INDUS X challenges under ‘INDUS-X Mutual Promotion of Advanced Collaborative Technologies’ (IMPACT) challenges jointly finalised by iDEX and the United States Department of Defense (US DoD).
Rajnath Singh also released the Indian Navy’s updated Indigenisation Roadmap, ‘Swavlamban 2.0’. He said India’s defence sector is currently riding on the boat of innovation, lauding iDEX for providing the youth with a platform to innovate and develop new products, ensuring the start-ups’ progress and strengthening the country’s defence ecosystem.
At the event, Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar said the Indian Navy has committed to be a fully indigenous force by 2047. He said the Navy sought solutions to 75 challenges last year, received more than 1,000 responses, declared 118 winners under DISC 7 SPRINT and SPRINT-PRIME, and concluded over 100 technological development agreements between iDEX and the industry.
“The Navy aims to go beyond linear growth and adopt compounding – one technology leading to multiple offshoots, each producing numerous products, and so on,” the Navy Chief observed.
Inaugurating the event, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS) Sanjay Jasjit Singh said, ‘Swavlamban initiative has gained critical mass and is gathering continuous momentum’ and informed the gathering that acceleration has been achieved in technology development and procurement.
“Navy has already obtained Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for 12 such cases, worth close to 1500 crores, and procurement orders for products worth 200 crores amongst these have already been signed. We are looking to conclude many more such contracts in the coming weeks,” said VCNS.
Seventy-five technologies having applications in various military hardware, including underwater swarm drones, autonomous weaponised boat swarms and firefighting systems, were displayed at the seminar. Last year, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian Navy had committed to developing these 75 technologies.