The Indian Navy is set to unveil its updated indigenisation roadmap, named ‘Swavlamban 2.0′, to showcase the development of cutting-edge defence technologies next week. Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh, the Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS), announced that this roadmap will outline the accomplishments to date, and chart the path forward.
In a significant achievement, the Navy has exceeded its target as announced last year, ,by collaborating with domestic Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups, to develop 75 cutting-edge technologies. These advancements will be officially revealed at the forthcoming Swavlamban seminar and exhibition, scheduled for 4 and 5 October. Vice Admiral Singh emphasised that these technologies and products maintain world-class standards while being more cost-effective due to their production in India.
Last year, the Indian Navy pledged to advance at least 75 technologies as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. The Vice Chief reported that these commitments from the past year have not only been fulfilled, but in certain instances, they have even exceeded expectations. This remarkable progress has primarily been accomplished through initiatives such as SPRINT (Supporting Pole-Vaulting in R&D through Innovation for Defence Excellence), the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO), and the Technology Development Acceleration Cell.
Additionally, the Swavlamban roadmap is geared towards fostering collaboration, coordination, and the development of novel technologies through partnerships, according to the Vice Chief.
Stating that the Navy has invested considerable time and effort towards realising this commitment, he said, “I can say with confidence that the Swavlamban initiative has gained critical mass, and is gathering momentum.”
Last year, the Navy received approximately 1,100 proposals from startups and MSMEs in response to the SPRINT challenges. Among these submissions, 118 firms, all MSMEs, were declared winners. Remarkably, this initiative has inducted nearly 100 new firms into the defence ecosystem for the first time. The Vice Chief emphasised that the focus is on fostering success rather than dwelling on the risk of failure, mainly through providing guidance and support to startups aiming to develop “transformational” technologies.
According to him, significant progress has been achieved in the realm of technology development and procurement. He highlighted that they have already obtained Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for 12 cases valued at nearly Rs. 1,500 crores, with procurement orders worth Rs.200 crores already signed for some of these. In the forthcoming weeks, they anticipate finalising numerous additional contracts of a similar nature.
Commodore Arun Golaya, Head of the Navy’s Technology Development Acceleration Cell, informed that since the NIIO was set up, naval officers have filed for over 50 patents. Over 150 products are being developed through partnerships. Giving examples of some of the new technologies under development, he claimed that some of them are not available anywhere else in the world.
New Technologies Developed by NIIO
The Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) is a dedicated cell set up by the Indian Navy to accelerate technology development and promote self-reliance in defence. Since its establishment in 2020, the NIIO has made significant progress in developing new technologies for the Indian Navy.
Some of the new technologies under development by the NIIO include:
- Fire-fighting suit: A fire-fighting suit is significantly lighter than imported suits, making it more comfortable and easier to move in.
- Fire-fighting bot: A fire-fighting robot that has already been deployed on the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
- Blue-green lasers for underwater applications: Blue-green lasers can penetrate water more effectively than traditional lasers, making them ideal for underwater applications such as communication and imaging.
- Autonomous weaponised swarms and underwater swarm drones: These technologies can be used to conduct a variety of missions, including surveillance, reconnaissance, and attack.
These are just a few examples of the many new technologies under development by the NIIO. The NIIO is working closely with Indian industry and academia to develop these technologies, and many of them are expected to be deployed by the Indian Navy in the coming years.
VCNs said many of the products to be eventually developed from these technologies will also have takers in the Army and the Air Force and also civilian usage, besides a significant export potential, as well.