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DRDO, industry to promote national design houses

Defence research organisation plans commercial arm to market technologies.



Dr V.K. Saraswat

Vinson Kurian

Chennai, Jan. 7

The partnership between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the industry seeks to create National Design Houses in the areas of aeronautics, propulsion systems, long-range radars, advanced control systems and advanced materials/composites.

In this context, the DRDO will explore the option of creating a commercial arm for commercialisation and marketing of DRDO technologies, products and services.

This was stated here by Dr V. K. Saraswat, Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development, and Director-General, DRDO, while addressing a session at the 98th Indian Science Congress at SRM University here.

Technology fund

The DRDO is also looking at operationalising the Defence Technology Development Fund (DTDF) targeted at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the private sector to ‘hand-hold' SMEs in high-risk development tasks.

New capacities, and in some cases parallel capacities, are created in the private sector so that the requisite numbers are built faster, better and even cheaper, Dr Saraswat said.

This would enable the private sector to participate in all future indigenous development.

Through their involvement in the development stage and subsequent acceptance of these systems, these industries have demonstrated their ability to absorb and produce high-end Defence technology systems.

These industries would be given licenses to manufacture through the automatic route and could also be recognised for the manufacture of a similar class of Defence equipment.

Since critical technologies from abroad can accelerate the development of systems, the DRDO will look to identify technologies that could be sought through an ‘offset' programme.

Offset credits

A uniform offset of 30 per cent of the estimated cost of acquisition in ‘buy (global)' category acquisitions and 30 per cent of the foreign exchange component in the ‘buy and make' category acquisitions is the minimum required value of the offset.

Foreign vendors could consider creation of offset programmes in anticipation of further obligations. Offset credits so acquired can be banked and discharged against future contracts.

It is estimated that in the 11th Plan period, business worth $10 billion would be generated through the offset route.

Leveraging offset provisions to achieve the national aim of self-reliance in design, development and production of Defence systems is a challenge for the entire country.

Based on the analysis of the Long-term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) and its own roadmap, the DRDO will consult with the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (HQIDS), the three services and the Department of Defence Production and identify the list of critical technologies that would need to be acquired through the offset route, Dr Saraswat said.

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