Innovations for Defence Excellence

The emerging dimensions of threats and the contingencies the global defence  landscape is expanding with enabling technologies having  potential to cause disruptive effects on military capabilities and geopolitical competitions.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Def Expo - 2018 mentioned new and emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will perhaps be the most important determinants of defensive and offensive capabilities for any defence force in the future. A vibrant defence industry is a crucial component of effective defence capability, and to achieve national sovereignty and military superiority. The diffusion of military and dual use technology is required for both disruptive and capability-based incremental innovation defence capabilities. The Indian defence production base has never focused on design and development and thus has been unable to develop capabilities and produce competitive indigenously designed Weapons. However the present Indian govt's focus is on the imperative needs of India's military modernisation and the creation of a world-class defence industry by enhancing defence manufacturing in India under Make-in-India initiative.

Defence Innovation Organization (DIO) has been incorporated as a 'not for with HAL and BEL as its founding members. All nine DPSUs will be encouraged to become members of DIO. DIO has an initial corpus of Rs. 100 crores and will basically fund and manage the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX). It is aimed at creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Startups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs. The Defence Ministry, has also tied up with five business incubators to promote and support the startups, including:-

  • Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship with Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
  • Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay
  • T-hub startup incubator in Hyderabad
  • 'Forge' incubator in Coimbatore
  • IIT Madras.

The ministry of defence (MoD) also launched the Support for Prototype & Research Kickstart (SPARK) initiative. The startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individual researchers and academic institutions can take part in 11 different categories mentioned in brief as under for creating technologies and products that can be used by the armed forces.

Individual Protection System with built-in sensors

Individual Protection System with built-in sensors. The system material should be light weight and non-shattering. The sensor mechanism should effectively monitor the vital parameters of the soldier and the protection system. The equipment should be light weight and transmit the monitored data while not hindering mobility.

Artificial Intelligence in Logistics & SCM

Artificial Intelligence based Logistics and supply chain management (Management of Stores, Spares and Ration).

See Through Armour

A system for Future Armoured Fighting Vehicles to provide 360 situational awareness. The solution may employ use of multiple cameras to produce a stitched 360 view. It should be a digital mapping system having cameras and sensors to track the positions of surrounding features of interest in both two and three-dimensional modes. Optionally, a specially designed headset synced to vehicle cameras to allow commanders to 'see through' their vehicles in both visual and infra-red in real-time is , or alternatively, the feed can be transmitted to a touch-screen display. The live-feed is to be overlaid with information from other vehicle systems and the touch-screen display is to be used to identify friendly and enemy forces, for route planning and to let the commander view the display of other crew members, such as the gunner. The system should be easily integrated with various vehicles and their systems (especially communications).

Carbon Fibre Winding (CFW)

This technology is for Rocket Launchers having capability to fire up to 7000-10000 rounds from the shoulder of a war fighter. It involves development of a recipe of carbon fibre winding as well as the selection of the fibre. The barrel assy. of a rocket launcher weapon is a carbon filament wound barrel. Production of Barrel assy. involves manufacture of Metallic Liner and Carbon Filament Winding (CFW) of Metallic Liner. Manufacturing of Metallic Liner is established but the CFW process is currently not available in India and is being sought indigenously. Secondly, Carbon Fibre of specified grade is not available to Indian defence industries due to export regulation. There is a need to develop the technology/ process within India.

Active Protection System (APS)

This project would involve development of quick acting sensors and actuators for the development of an Active Protection System for vehicles. It is to prevent line-of-sight guided anti-tank missiles/projectiles from acquiring and/or destroying the target and may have both i.e. soft kill (electronic countermeasures) and hard kill (counter attack) feature. The hard-kill measure will affect the incoming warhead/missile by means of either blast and/or fragment action by

Disturbance of the stability of a kinetic energy penetrator which will decrease its penetration ability as the deflection angle increases.

Premature initiation of a shaped charge (e.g., too great stand-off), but most likely improper initiation, thereby impeding optimum jet development of the metallic lining, usually copper, in the shaped charge.

Destruction of the airframe of an inbound missile or shell.

Secure hardware based offline Encryptor Device for Graded Security

A dedicated secure hardware (FPGA/ASIC) based offline encryption device is for transacting classified data over Public/Open networks. The device is to undertake file/folder level encryption with data flies read off from USB media device and written to separate USB, media device. The hardware-based device is to encrypt, decrypt and handle common Windows/ Linux file system over USB on either end.

Development of 4G/LTE based Tactical Local Area Network

To enable high bandwidth tactical communication for real-time information exchange, a 4G enabled tactical LAN is to be designed and developed, which would get integrated with existing RF/ Satellite links and would form a component of the Information Grid. The envisage 4G based network would be installed on moving platforms with capability of dynamic Networking.

Development of Advanced Technology Based Desalination System (Water Purification) and Bilge Oily Water Separation System

Presently reverse osmosis plants are fitted on board IN platforms for production of fresh water from sea water. The plants operate on the process of Reverse Osmosis using DT modules. The performance of RO plants is affected by variance in sea water salinity and temperatures and thus affects operations especially in foreign waters. Similarly, the oily water in the bilges of the machinery spaces is separated through use of Gravity separation devices which are in general Coalescer based (OWS). The performance of Oily Water Separators on board IN platforms is observed to sub-optimal and unreliable. Use of advanced desalination techniques like Carbon Nano tubes and Biometric filters needs to be studied in various operating conditions as viable replacements for RO plants. On similar lines, use of centrifugal type Oily Water separators capable of handling viscous/ particulate laden loading in order oil content in Ships discharge to 5 PPM needs to be studied.

Remotely Piloted Airborne Vehicles

Design and development of Remotely Piloted Vehicles (RPVs) with secure and encrypted control systems (datalinks). These are airborne vehicles which are controlled remotely through secure and encrypted control systems.

Depending upon their performance the RPVs are categorised as High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) and Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE). Further, depending upon their size and payload carrying capacity, the RPVs are categorised as Micro RPVs, Mini RPVs and RPVs.  Areas of future development of technology and innovative solutions include but are not limited to: -

Design and development of Launch and recovery systems, control & monitoring systems and debrief systems.

Design and development of various types of indigenous payloads including Electro-Optical systems, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) systems, Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) systems and Communications Intelligence (COMINT) systems.

Design and development of capability for carrying Air to Air and Air to Ground weapons and weapon aiming systems.

Laser Weaponry

Design of portable/mounted laser weaponry of various destructive yields. These systems will be used to neutralize targets like aerial drones, etc. or be part of an active protection system.

The system should be mountable on various defence platforms (land/air/water).

Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles

Design of autonomous surface and underwater vehicles to carry out a variety of tasks including offensive / defensive / reconnaissance / repair activities. These vehicles should have secure and encrypted control systems (datalinks) to communicate with their base station.

Select few startups will also receive a funding of up to Rs 1.5 crore through the Ministry for developing their ideas, and given access to test their products. As part of the event Tonbo Imaging was given a Certificate of Accord of ''Approval in Principle' for its suo motu proposal 'Night Fir 'Night Fire Control System for Automatic Grenade Launcher-30.

In view of the emerging dimensions of threats and the contingencies the global defence  innovation landscape is expanding with enabling technologies having  potential to cause disruptive effects on military capabilities and geopolitical competitions. Some of the these technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, additive manufacturing, advanced and smart materials, virtual and augmented reality, unmanned systems, remote sensing  will have enabling effects in the future battlefield. Thus the 21st Century warfare would see extensive play of  Cyber Weapons, Heat-Rays and Lasers, Drones,  Anti-Drone Systems, Stealth and Hypersonic Platforms and Weapon Systems, Precision Guided Munitions, Multi-Domain Sensor Systems, Battlefield Management Software Technologies, Space Combat, hypersonic and electro-magnetic weapons, quantum computing and directed energy and the likes. In time to come the R&D and innovation likely to be important determinants of defence production capabilities especially in light of the decreasing predictability of future needs.

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