RAPID changes in technology and consequent changes in war strategies and techniques, requires the user—the army—to be involved at every stage of defence inventory manufacturing—conceptualisation, design, development, trials and production to sustenance. To facilitate the same, the Army Design Bureau (ADB) has been conceptualised as an interface of the Indian Army with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), academia, defence PSUs, OFBs and private industry, paving the way for high-quality research and development of defence products.
After nearly 50 years of the Indian Navy having its own design directorate, the Indian Army has now set up a design bureau for the weapons and equipment it uses, to showcase an effort to indigenise its machinery, like tanks and guns. The new body will work in sync with DRDO and ordnance factories to achieve the Army’s modernisation and indigenisation programme in line with the Make-in-India thrust.
“The Indian Army takes pride in using indigenous products and that we should aim to reduce imports of defense inventory while pushing for indigenisation,” says Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh. He adds that a lot of spare parts and inventory of the Army, which were being imported, do not involve high-end technology and as such can be made by domestic companies.
The ADB has been formed to meet the Army’s long-standing need to design and modernise weapons indigenously. It will work as a repository of all technical know-how for defence equipment manufacturing. Besides the establishment of the ADB which is expected to be headed by a Maj Gen rank officer, a ‘Make in India Army Website’ has also been launched recently.
The Indian Army has identified the products that the domestic industry can help design and manufacture.These include 125 mm smooth bore barrel with gun article, improved ammunition for T-72 and T-90 tanks, 1000 HP engines for T-72, individual under water breathing apparatus, environment control unit and auxiliary power units for T-90 tanks, advanced pilotless target aircrafts, maneuverable expendable aerial targets, tracked light dozers, assault track way and modern aircraft refueling pump.
In an effort to streamline the General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs) formulated by the line directorates, one agency has been set up for one point interaction. Lt Gen Subrata Saha, DCOAS (P&S), and his team of officers have been having extense interactions to promote awareness on the Army’s modernisation needs, discovering capabilities of the industry and encouraging research at various regional industrial hubs.