Bengaluru, Feb 14
Rajnath Singh meets CEOs
Rajnath Singh met the CEOs of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) on the sidelines of 14th Aero India on tuseday. During the interaction, he highlighted that India offers significant advantages of competitive land costs, skilled human capital, a vibrant start-up ecosystem and a huge domestic defence market to the Global Defence industry. He described this as a win-win situation where defence manufacturing companies from across the world can become a part of the Indian growth story.
The minister emphasised the importance of the defence sector for India saying, “Defence production meets the twin goals of becoming self-reliant in a critical sector as well as generating jobs for our people.” He also mentioned the incentives given by Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu state governments for investment in Defence Industrial Corridors, central government policies promoting FDI and defence manufacturing in India, the strong legal system protecting stakeholders' interests and improvements in ease of doing business.
“There are opportunities to co-develop, co-produce, integrate and strengthen supply chains, from Joint Ventures, set up manufacturing in India and make for the world,” he said. The CEOs gave their suggestions to facilitate Global investment in Indian Defence Manufacturing and Rajnath assured them of government efforts to remove regulatory hurdles for private industry.
CEOs and senior management of General Atomics, Safran, Boeing, Embraer and Rafael Advanced Defence Systems attended the interaction. Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, DG (Acquisition) Pankaj Agrawal, Additional Secretary, Defence Production T. Natarajan and other senior officials of the Ministry of Defence were also present.
Indigenous Aero-engines Is Must
Ministry of Defence is working on the details of indigenous manufacturing of aero-engines to provide a new fillip to the aerospace sector and achieve complete self-reliance. This was stated by defence minister Rajnath Singh during his inaugural address at a seminar titled ‘Indigenous Development of ‘Futuristic Aerospace Technologies including Way Forward for Development of Indigenous Aero Engines’, organised by Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of 14th Aero India in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
Rajnath Singh stated that after completing 75 years of independence, India is entering ‘Amrit Kaal’ and it is time to ensure that Indian aircraft fly with indigenously-made engines. He stressed on the need to focus on indigenous design & development of essential weapon systems using niche technologies like Artificial Intelligence, drones, stealth, hypersonic and quantum computing. He exuded confidence that the DRDO, with its capability and dedication, will soon make quick progress in that direction and add to the list of its achievements that include ‘Prithvi’, ‘Akash’ and ‘Agni’ missiles.
The minister also exhorted the DRDO to encourage start-ups and new R&D establishments to develop incremental innovations, minor sub-systems and their technologies through schemes like Technology Development Fund and Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX). “DRDO is no longer just a service provider for defence R&D. It is now also a facilitator for in-house industrial R&D, start-ups and private sector labs. There is a need to take advantage of this synergy,” he said.
Rajnath Singh urged the DRDO to set short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and work to build disruptive, cutting-edge or frontier technologies. While we are progressing towards becoming one of the strongest countries in the world, we should have strong support of next level Armed Forces capable of facing any new challenge, he said.
He highlighted the significant efforts being made towards the progress of defence R&D in the country, saying that the DRDO is the flag-bearer of that vision. He described the scientists, engineers and technicians of DRDO as behind-the-scenes heroes who design, develop and manufacture weapons & technologies and provide them to the soldiers posted at the borders.
Rajnath Singh commended the DRDO for continuously making headways in defence and aerospace sector through research & innovation and strengthening national security through design & development of equipment ranging from ammunition to guns, radar systems and missiles. He enumerated some of the notable, including helicopters, weapon systems like TAPAS, Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system, Medium Range Artillery Gun and radars. He stated the world is recognising these achievements, with many countries importing defence equipment from India and many more in the process of acquiring the weapon systems.
The defence minister termed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas as a game changer for the aerospace industry. “A highly-capable aerial platform, LCA Tejas has a commendable record in flight safety which speaks volumes about its quality. Based on its success, the government has now approved LCA-Mk II for the Indian Air Force, while the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter is under consideration for the Indian Navy. We have also started moving forward in the path of design and manufacturing of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft in the form of 5th generation stealth aircraft. Whether it is water, land or sky, DRDO has always been at the forefront in strengthening the security infrastructure,” he said.
During the seminar, organised by DRDO’s Aeronautical Research and Development Board (AR&DB), the Raksha Mantri handed over the Health Usage & Monitoring System for MIG29K developed through Technology Development Fund (TDF) to Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Satish Namdeo Ghormade. The DRDO in association with Smart Machines and Structures, Hyderabad under the TDF scheme has indigenously developed the Health Usage Monitoring System for the MiG29K with Technical handholding of DRDO and Users. This solution uses machine learning and data analytics on Flight Data Recorder data to help Indian Navy enhance the serviceability of the aircraft by predicting failure before they occur.
Rajnath Singh also launched AR&DB web portal, www.samar.gov.in (System for Advance Manufacturing Assessment & Rating). SAMAR is the benchmark to measure the competency of defence manufacturing enterprises. SAMAR is an outcome of the collaboration between DRDO and Quality Council of India (QCI) to strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem in the country.
The DRDO has equipped industries with the latest defence technologies by signing the Licensing Agreement for Transfer of Technology (ToT) of several critical systems. It handed over 18 ToT agreements to 18 Indian Industries for transfer of 12 technologies developed by 10 DRDO laboratories.
Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr Samir V Kamat handed over 12 technologies to Industries. The technologies handed over to Indian Industries pertain to Multi-Channel Laser DEW for 10kW/2km range Hard kill system, Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESAR) – Uttam, Air Defence Fire Control Radar (ADFCR) – Atulya, NAYAN COMINT System, Unified Mission Computer, Software for outdoor Perimeter System (STOPS), LAND Inertial Navigation System (LAND-INS) for Land based Application, Ceramics Radomes Technology, Trawl Assembly for T-72/T-90 Tanks, Weapon Tracking System (WTS), Linear Thermal Detector and CBRN Water Purification System (WPS) Mk II. The ToT of these DRDO developed technologies will further strengthen the manufacturing eco-system in the country in the area of defence systems and platforms. So far, DRDO has entered into more than 1,500 ToT agreements with Indian Industries.
A DRDO Monograph titled Non-Destructive Evaluation of Solid Rockets and Missile System and AR&DB’s magazine was also released. Handing Over of CEMILAC certificate for CVRDE developed aircraft bearings for Aircraft Mounted Accessories Gear Box (AMAGB) of Tejas was also carried out. Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan and Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri Dr G Satheesh Reddy were also present on the occasion.
Develop India as MRO hub
Rajnath Singh has called for joint efforts to develop India as a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) hub. He emphasised the need for MRO services to safeguard our defence equipment and systems, and protect our defence forces. He was speaking at the inaugural session of the seminar on “Sustenance in MRO and Obsolescence Mitigation: Op capability Enhancers in Aerospace Domain” organised by the Indian Air Force at Aero India 2023 on February 14, 2023. Rajnath Singh pointed out that the self-confidence and morale of our defence forces will be strengthened by using indigenous equipment. He mentioned that due to geo-political developments India is taking steps to strengthen its defence sector and assured that the government is committed towards making the best equipment and platforms available to our defence forces to bolster National security. Shri Rajnath Singh further mentioned that along with combat readiness the government has focussed on Aatmanirbharta in defence production, and preparedness. As a result, India is moving ahead in the field of defence production, he said.
The Raksha Mantri listed various initiatives to develop self-reliance in the IAF, such as the Akash Weapon System, LCA Tejas, Long Range Surface to Air Missiles, Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft and the order for 15 Light Combat Helicopter ‘Prachand’. He also informed that there would be 160 of the Prachand helicopters in the Armed Forces in the future. He expressed confidence that these steps would help to reduce external dependence of the Armed Forces. “While we should procure the best equipment and systems, our efforts should focus on developing our own equipment and systems to strengthen the Indian Defence sector”, he added.
Speaking on the need to give a push to indigenisation, Rajnath Singh mentioned that the requirement for minimum 50% indigenous content in ‘Buy Indian- IDDM’ category currently does not include maintenance. He suggested that the procurement cost as well as maintenance and support should have 50% indigenous content to make the acquisition truly “Buy Indian- IDDM” and give a boost to Aatmanirbharta. He further pointed out the need to consider the cost of defence products over their entire lifespan. “The Life Cycle cost of high value defence equipment, including service and maintenance, should be examined at the time of acquisition for a clear estimate of total expenditure on these products throughout their usable life, and to enable us to get better value for money”, he suggested. He said that this will also enable us to understand the overall financial implications and estimate the level of indigenisation in particular defence equipment.
The defence minister expressed confidence that the IAF would scale new heights not only in the sphere of security, but also in terms of self-reliance. He appreciated the organisation of the seminar, saying that it will promote efforts to build a self-reliant Air Force. He also commended the dedication of the IAF and its role as a first responder and relief activities during the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, saying that the efforts reflect India’s contribution to international relations and its duty towards the world.
Rajnath also launched the IAF Electronic Maintenance Management System (e-MMS) during the inaugural session. E-MMS is one of the largest and technologically complex digital Enterprise Asset Management solutions implemented in the world. Compendiums of Innovation & Indigenization Requirements of the IAF and the Maintenance Journal of the IAF were also released. Earlier, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari delivered the welcome address at the inaugural session. He emphasised on the contributions of MSMEs and startups towards upgradation and sustenance of legacy fleets. He urged the aerospace and defence industry to take opportunities in IAF’s objectives of capability enhancement and deterrence, assimilate technologies involved, set up R&D centres and evolve viable business plans to meet future requirements of the Armed Forces. He also pointed out that there is a huge potential for overhaul through part testing and outsourcing, and mentioned how IAF has successfully indigenised approximately 65,000 lives of spares.
The second session focused on the Indigenization and ROH requirements of the IAF. The key areas of discussion were 'Scope for MRO, Obsolescence Mitigation & Development of Repair Technology, Certification Process, Industry Perspective on MRO Opportunities & Emerging Technologies and Opportunities and Challenges in Commercial Off the Shelf Technology.
The seminar was held to communicate IAF's revenue indigenisation and Repair and Overhaul (ROH) requirements to private enterprise. It provided a forum for industry and IAF to work out plans for attainment of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana Shri Dushyant Chautala, Senior officials of the Ministry of Defence, Defence Forces, DPSUs, DRDO, private industries (including foreign OEMs collaborating with Indian companies), IAF personnel and representatives of various Operational and Maintenance Directorates also participated.
Defence Secretary meets UK Delegation
Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane had a bilateral meeting with UK Minister of State for Defence Procurement Mr Alex Chalk. The meeting was conducted on the side-lines of the Aero India.
A number of ongoing and future defence cooperation issues were discussed including areas for potential defence industrial cooperation. The UK Minister was accompanied by British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis.