Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Satheesh Reddy affirmed recently that India will become completely self-reliant in defence manufacturing in the next five years and will not need critical technologies from outside.
India is already self-reliant in a number of areas such as radars, electronic warfare system, torpedoes and communications systems, the DRDO chief stated.
DRDO is a technology development organisation and all our technologies have been realised into products by various PSUs and industry. DRDO has set a target to achieve self-reliance in missiles, radars, sonars, torpedoes, armaments and EW (early warning) systems.
The DRDO Director-General was delivering a lecture at an event organised by the Aeronautical Society of India. He stated
“We will offer our technologies to industries for early realisation of products and to support R&D facilities. Our focus will also be to support start-ups through the Technology Development Fund (TDF). Time and cost management of projects involving industry is another priority area. We have come up with a policy for identification of a Development Cum Production Partner (DcPP) in which the industry will be involved in all stages of system development.”
When questioned about the progress of the Light Combat Aircraft and AMCA projects, he said “An advanced version, the LCA MK II, is the next aero platform. LCA MK II configuration is frozen and qualitative requirements are finalised.
It is our endeavour to develop the fifth-generation advanced multi-role combat aircraft (AMCA) as per the project schedule to meet the Air Force’s requirements. We should be in a position to roll out the first AMCA within five years of project approval.
Reddy in the lecture, briefed about his plans on outsourcing further to private industry. He said “The private sector has been playing a great role in the production of DRDO equipments. When Dr Kalam started work, there were barely 30 partner companies, but now we have more than 1,800.
A number of industries started as fabricators for us and have now become established aerospace manufacturers with our technology, handholding and quality practices. Actually, the aerospace industry developed by us is our strength.
The Akash air defence system, for example, is built 87% by the industry. We have thrown open our test facilities to the industry. We will help with technology for the development of products. We are identifying companies in the private sector that can take on the role of lead system integrator for major systems.”
When inquired about the updates on systems like the BMD, Astra, the DRDO chief stated “We have developed a number of variants of anti-tank missiles. User trials of NAG ATGM have been successfully conducted and development trials of Helina, the airborne anti-tank missile, are under progress.
We are currently working on MPATGM (man-portable anti-tank guided missile) programme. Five demonstration trials have already been completed and we would be able to offer it for user trials soon.
India is one of the few countries that has an active and successful BMD (Ballistic Missile Defence) programme. We have demonstrated our BMD capability through both simulation as well as live target engagements in both endo and exo regions. All essential technologies have been proven through tests.”