Top academia from Indian Institutes of Technology, Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science and other centres of excellence will get a ringside view of the army’s precise application of firepower, as part of an overarching programme to involve them in overcoming modernisation hurdles being faced by the force.
They will witness live firing by the Bofors gun, 130 mm artillery guns and rocket launchers for the first time.
Under outreach initiative, spearheaded by the Army Design Bureau (ADB) set up last year, the academia and industry experts will be taken to the School of Artillery in Devlali on January 9 and Infantry School in Mhow on February 20 – both in Madhya Pradesh – for elaborate firepower displays.
The army is seeking their help to fix at least 170 problem areas in modernisation ranging from mobility of guns in mountains to night vision devices and wound-healing fabric to satellite-based tracking systems.
The academia and industry are also being tapped to develop future technologies such as armoured fighting vehicles, unmanned combat aerial vehicles, longer range surface-to-air missiles and precision weapons.
A South Block source said an army team, headed by deputy chief Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, has held 17 bilateral army-industry interactions and eight trilateral army-industry-academia interactions.
“The interactions were aimed at promoting an understanding of the army’s modernisation requirements, gauging the industry’s capabilities and finding out how academic activities could be aligned to meet the army’s future needs,” the source said.
The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector stands to make some significant gains by taking part in the modernisation drive as almost 40% of the army’s schemes are valued at less than Rs 140 crore.
Last year, the academia and industry representatives were taken to Ahmednagar and Gopalpur to educate them about tanks and air defence equipment. They have been taken to high-altitude areas in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir, and a field trip to the desert sector will take place in February.
A senior officer said many projects under IMPRINT India (Impacting Research Innovation and Technology) - a pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative to develop a roadmap for research to solve major engineering and technology challenges – were being aligned to meet the army’s future requirements.
He said research cells had been set up in several IITs and domain-specific courses in defence technology were in the works. He said the industry’s response to army’s request for information for several schemes had increased significantly after the setting up of the ADB. The army has already signed an MoU for collaboration with IIT Gandhinagar, and another one with IIT Mumbai is likely to be inked on January 8.