In pursuit of achieving aatmanirbharta (self-reliance) in defence manufacturing and in sync with the Union Budget allocation of 25 per cent for R&D work in defence industry, 18 major platforms have been identified for indigenous production and their import will be completely banned.
These major platforms for industryled design and development in defence sector have been identified taking into consideration multiple factors like the capabilities of Indian industry, cost-effectiveness, faster and scalable, current technological advancements, requirement of future warfare, operational challenges and need for import substitution.
This landmark decision taken by the Union Cabinet was announced in Parliament by the Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhat. It was disclosed that the defence industry-led design & development will be done under various routes prescribed in Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020, namely, Make-I, Make-II, Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and the Innovations for Defence Excellence (IDEX).
To be more precise, these include Army platforms, such as a light-weight tank, self-healing minefields and ‘plug-and-play housing’ for soldiers posted at extreme altitudes. The Navy platforms include a 127-millimetre naval gun for capital warships, while the Air Force platforms comprise the long-awaited Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (IMRH) and a stand-off airborne jammer. According to defence industry sources, in August 2020, the Ministry of Defence had issued three lists of defence equipment the import of which is embargoed. The August 2020 list incrementally bans the import of 101 items, with the embargo growing wider each year.
In June last year, an additional list of 108 defence items was issued by the MoD, progressively banning their import. Invoking ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, the second list, termed Positive Indigenisation List, pushed up to 209 the number of defence items that must be compulsorily procured from Indian companies. On the New Year’s Day in 2021, 69 items from the first list were embargoed for import. Again, on the first day of this year, another 60 items were banned. Another 25 will be embargoed for import at the end of this year and 25 more at the end of 2023, 21 at the end of 2024 and nine in 2025.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), along with private companies like Kalyani Group and Tata Aerospace and Defence, is already developing towed artillery guns and Pinaka multibarrelled rocket launchers. The latest banned 18 platforms have been identified after extensive consultations with the Services, DRDO and the industry. These platforms have been distributed between four indigenous routes prescribed in the Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020, namely, Make-1, Make-II, Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and Innovations for Defence Excellence (IDEX). The details of these 18 (eighteen) platforms are:
MAKE-I: Hypersonic Glide Vehicle; Directed Energy Weapons (300 KW and more) [High Powered Electromagnetic Devices and High Powered Laser Devices]; Naval Ship Borne Unmanned Aerial System (NSUAS); Light Weight Tank; SelfHealing Mine Fields; Unmanned Autonomous AI Based Land Robot; 127 mm Naval Gun; 127 mm Guided Projectile; Electric Propulsion (Engines) for Ships; Standoff Airborne Jammer; Li-ion Cells/ Li-Sulphur Cells (Portable High-Capacity Energy Systems replacing the Conventional Hydrocarbons); Communication System (AFNET System Switches, routers, Encryptors & VOIP phones); Electro Optical (EO) Pod (with subsequent upgrade to EO/IR) with high resolution sensing and ‘Plug and Play’ Housing/ Infrastructure for soldiers posted at extreme altitudes.
SPV MODEL: Long Range Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) [High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE)] and Indian Multi Role Helicopter.
IDEX: Low Orbit Pseudo Satellites. MAKE-II: Anti-jamming Systems for Multiple Platforms.