The Navy which has taken an early lead towards indigenisation decades ago and in 2014 promulgated the Indian Navy Indigenisation Plan (INIP) 2015-2030 to enable indigenous development of equipment and systems is further ramping up indigenisation efforts especially in weapons and aviation related items. This falls in line with the Government’s push to cut down on defence imports and boost domestic manufacturing which has gained further urgency due to ingoing Russian war in Ukraine and the large scale dependency of Indian military on Russian arms and equipment.
“Till date, Navy has indigenised around 3400 items under INIP, including over 2000 machinery and electrical spares, over 1000 aviation spares and over 250 weapon spares. The existing Naval Aviation Indigenisation Roadmap (NAIR) 2019-22 is also under revision. All fast moving aircraft mandatory spares and high cost indigenous repairs are being included in the revised NAIR 2022-27,” one official said.
There is particular focus on the fight component (which is weapons) as there is still a long way to go compared to the float and move components, the official stated. Float consist of the ship, move comprises the propulsion and fight consist of weapons and sensors.
“The Navy has a head start. Several initiatives have been taken early on,” a Navy official noted in this regard.
Towards this, four in-house indigenisation committees have been formed to handle indigenisation of spares with respect to naval aircraft. In addition, the Naval Liaison Cells (NLCs) located at various places have been nominated as ‘indigenisation cells’.
There are currently 41 ships and submarines under construction, 39 are being built in India shipyards while in principle approval from MoD exists for 47 ships to be built in India, the Navy has stated earlier. Since 2014, 78 % of Acceptance of Necessity (AoN), by value, and 68 % of contracts, by value, have been awarded to Indian vendors, officials said.
The Navy is working with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the industry to cut down developmental timelines, the official cited above said. “Start-ups and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) are doing a great job.”
Some of the focus areas include indigenous design and development and production of Anti-Submarine Weapons and sensors, Satcom and electronic warfare equipment, Anti-Ship Missiles and Medium Range Surface to Air Missile, combat management system, software defined radios, network encryption devices, Link II communication system, main batteries for submarines, distress sonar system, components of missiles and torpedoes etc.
The Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) which was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in August 2020 provides a flexible and accessible interface for academia and industry with Indian Navy capability development apparatus, officials said.
In the last two years, 36 IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) applications have been filed by Navy personnel. Over two IPR applications are filed every month since the creation of NIIO and Transfer of Technology to 12 MSMEs has already been undertaken,” another defence official said.
Navy has now forward deployed user inputs through Naval Project Management Teams at cluster Headquarters of DRDO and two such clusters are already operational. These have interfaced with the DRDO labs and their Development cum Production Partners (DcPP) to provide user inputs at every stage to 15 futuristic Technology and 100 plus DRDO projects underway for development of Indian Navy’s combat capability, the official added.
The Navy has more than 20 Make I & Make II cases being progressed, under various domestic development routes of the procurement procedure.
Comparing the highly skilled and technology intense warship production compared to commercial ship building, Navy Chiefs in the past had stated that manpower employed for constructing a commercial ship of about 30,000 tonnes is less than the manpower employed in warship construction of about 6,000 tonnes. In addition, statistics show that the multiplier effect of one worker employed in a shipyard is approximately 6.4 on ancillary industries, a senior officer said in the past.