Firefighting robots, underwater swarm drones in navy’s tech push
Swavlamban 2023, the second such seminar being organised by the navy, will be held at Bharat Mandapam on October 4-5
NEW DELHI: The Indian Navy’s latest indigenisation push, which will be showcased at a mega conclave next week involves underwater swarm drones, autonomous weaponised boat swarms, blue-green lasers for underwater applications, multiple firefighting systems and small drones with ultra-high endurance for maritime missions, officials aware of the matter said on Wednesday.
The navy will showcase 75 new technologies at its upcoming innovation and indigenisation seminar, Swavlamban 2023, to highlight advances made in some critical areas during the last one year, the officials said.
These technologies were identified by the navy and have been or are being developed by local start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as part of the navy’s goal to boost self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector.
Swavlamban 2023, the second such seminar being organised by the navy, will be held at Bharat Mandapam on October 4-5. At its maiden edition in July 2022, the navy committed to developing 75 technologies, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav or celebrations to mark the 75th year of India’s Independence.
These technologies are world-class and are being turned into products, and the defence ministry has accorded its initial approval, or acceptance of necessity (AoN), to some of these to pave the way for their induction into the armed forces, said navy vice chief Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh at a curtain-raiser to the seminar.
Under India’s defence procurement rules, AoN by the defence acquisition council is the first step towards buying weapons and systems needed by the armed forces, though actual induction often takes years.
Twelve products worth around ₹1,500 crore have got AoN and approval for military hardware worth another ₹1,500 crore is expected in the coming months, Singh said, while underscoring that converting technologies into products takes time.
“Last year, the navy had committed to developing at least 75 technologies as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. Today, I can say with confidence that the Swavlamban initiative has gained critical mass and is gathering continuous momentum. The promises made last year have been fully met, and even surpassed in some cases,” Singh said.
The products to be showcased at the conclave include firefighting suits made from carbon nano tubes and aerogel-based fabric and firefighting robots that have undergone trials on aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, said Commodore Arun Golaya, who heads the navy’s technology development acceleration cell.
Around 1,100 proposals were received last year from startups and MSMEs in response to the 75 technology challenges, with 118 firms declared winners. The results have been to the navy’s satisfaction, and many of the products that have been developed will find their way into the other two services, government and civilian sectors, and hold export potential too, Singh added.