General Dalbir Singh. PVSM. UYSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, the COAS formally announced establishment of the Army Design Bureau today during an Army Seminar on Make Projects organized in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi. The Secretary Defence Production Mr A K Gupta, Secretary Defence Production was the Guest of Honour at 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.
In his opening address Mr Rajiinder Singh Bhatia, Chairman, CII Land Systems Sub-Committee applauded the Army’s initiatives to reach out to industry for Make projects. He also highlighted that while several programmes with large value where Acceptance of Necessity had been accorded, actual contracts are still far away. Mr Bhatia echoed industry’s sentiments to see early conversion of these AONs into contracts during the next 3 to 6 months, so that results could be seen in the next two to three years.
He also emphasized that the Ministry of Defence can make successful use of MAKE projects in import substitution which needs to be accelerated as private industry has time and again proved that they have the requisite technologies, technical competence and capabilities to deliver the solutions. He opined that these are the low hanging fruits which the Ministry of Defence can start work on immediately. With increasing levels of import substitution, India will be closer to its goal of self-reliance.
Mr Singh also highlighted the need for Government to handhold the industry, especially MSMEs, and facilitate them to actively participate in the defence procurement programmes.
Mr A K Gupta, Secretary Defence Production spoke about the initiatives taken by MoD during the last two years to facilitate larger participation of the Indian defence industry in meeting the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. He also expressed satisfaction that the Army Design Bureau has finally been setup to be a repository of all technological information of Army’s war fighting assets and also act as a catalyst and facilitator for participation of industry, academia, R&D organisations to fulfill “dream of self-reliance”.
During 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 shall be the 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, UYSM, YSM, VSM**, DCOAS (P&S), and his team of senior 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. 20 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 llTs 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. The Indian Army is soon publishing a comprehensive compendium giving out specific problem definitrons. which shall help the R&D fraternity in developing indigenous solutions for the Army's modernization needs
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 OPP 2016
Following the formal announcement of establishment of the Army Design Bureau and launch of the Website, a detailed deliberation on the Army's Make Projects was carried out in the second session of the Seminar. The Army has identified ten projects under 'Make' category for manufacturing by domestic defence industry. These projects were uploaded on MoD websites about two months back for information of industry and the research agencies working in the field. These projects include 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, Trtacked Light Dozers, Assault Track Way and Modern Aircraft Refueling Pump. Sources have revealed that the Indian Army is considering more projects to be taken up in Make category, for which the preliminary process is already on.
While 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 and promote Indian Army's quest for Modernisation through lndigenisation.