The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has identified about 63 problem areas narrowed down from 123 aspects for the private sector to help in finding solutions. It has also been looking at finding ways to support various start-ups and has chosen 20 ideas from 2,500 received for further development, said Chairman G. Satheesh Reddy here on Friday.
“The DRDO wants to focus on cutting-edge research in new frontier areas and leave manufacturing to the private sector for production of weapon systems to the armed forces. Indigenisation of defence products is vital and from 45-50%, we intend to take it up to 75% in the next five years,” he said at the ‘DRDO Industry Synergy Summit-2019’ organised at Research Centre Imarat (RCI).
The country needs to reduce defence imports, develop self-reliance and increase exports with the private industry playing a key role, he said and pointed out that about 1,800 firms were already involved with the DRDO and its allied labs for taking up the manufacture of missiles, avionics, radars and others. Licensing agreements were done with 900 firms.
“There has been a phenomenal growth in the involvement of private sector in the DRDO work in the last few years, but this has to be increased further with the industry making use of the new incentives like no licence fees, no royalty, easy technology transfer, open patents, guidance in exports and availability of DRDO’s testing facilities and labs,” he said.
A $10-crore technology development fund was also available for the private sector if it comes up with a good idea, while the DRDO and its allied institutions were open to partnering right from the development stage to production so that the trial period could be reduced. The industry, however, has to adapt to continuity of orders, quality and controlling the costs, he said.
The co-existance and complementary efforts of defence public sector units and the private sector has pushed the production schedules.
“This is the reason why the BDL is making 16 Akash missiles a day and ready to increase it to 126. Same goes for Brahmos missiles, the main battle tank and long range guns. It’s a fantastic scenario where 87% of the value is coming from the private sector,” said the DRDO Chairman.
Dr. Reddy said it was also a good augury that youngsters were showing interest in materials, aerospace, avionics and propulsions, moving away from the usual information technology.
Earlier, RCI Chairman B.H.V.S. Narayana Murthy said 230 firms were participating in the summit and observed that the new policy framework offered a lot of incentives to get into defence production. Top scientists Mayank Dwivedi gave an overview of the new policy, while S. Guru Prasad cautioned against ‘vested interests’ belittling the indigenisation efforts.
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