The pandemic has been a particularly odd time. How has the Aerospace & Defence (A&D) sector fared in the past year, in your opinion? Can you elaborate on some of the notable tech developments in the Indian (A&D) sector this year so far?
The pandemic was severe. Adherence to WHO’s COVID-19 norms led to lockdowns and ‘work from home’, adversely impacting production, especially in hardware production sectors. Company managements suffered financially due to continued salaries despite lockdowns and losses due to non-production, but that has not dented the national resolve; defence production sector is firm and now on the upswing.
The Indian army recently developed a technology that can recognise PLA and their vehicles deployed at LAC. Could you elaborate more on the technology?
The capability to recognise PLA weapon systems vehicles, aircraft, field fortifications and habitat is intrinsic to the Indian military. The kind of detection & recognition technology being used is contemporary to that used by leading militaries globally. There is a constant R&D endeavour to improve the imagery resolution, all-weather day & night capability, increase revisit periodicity of the imaging platforms, enhance data processing speeds & accuracies, along with compatible human resources skills. It is a comprehensive approach to enhance capabilities and capacities to acquire niche technology.
Unmanned aircraft are a hot topic both from India's commercial & defence (government) perspective. Can you divulge a bit on how the Indian defence sector plans to bring more drones into play?
Drones have civil & military applications meant for development & security. India has a ‘whole of government’ approach to manufacture drones indigenously and import a carefully chosen variety of drones for specific goals. The Indian R&D sector, start-ups, innovators and manufacturers are capable of designing, developing & producing drones of a certain kind. Some strategic partnerships with like-minded friendly nations are obvious for advanced applications.
In a recent interview, Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat mentioned that we have started building ingenious computing systems in defence. Can you detail what would these supercomputers hold and how they will help Indian defence?
In the security sector, India faces challenges of ‘new wars with new challenges’. Accordingly, India is gearing up for Network Centre Warfare which is a result of the Electro Magnate Spectrum Warfare and the cyber warfare threats. The ‘unrestricted warfare’ with attacks from adversaries have to be thwarted in military and civil domains. Indian endeavours to develop and utilise indigenous computing systems to insulate national vulnerabilities is a logical step. This would help the Indian military as also non-military vital assets, which includes its population from all kinds of visible & invisible, direct & indirect, kinetic & non-kinetic and linear & non-linear attacks.
What does India in 2022 look like for the A&D sector, according to you? What strategies need to be instilled to ensure ‘Make in India’ is encouraged while growing the sector?
The year 2022 would be another milestone in the nation’s journey towards growth, prosperity, development & security, thus enabling India to claim its justified place in the comity of nations. ‘Make in India’ is a logical requirement for a populous nation in a troubled neighbourhood. Strategic leveraging and blackmail during difficult times can be prevented with a self-sufficient ecosystem. The lower cost of production in India due to its skilled population, low allied expenditures and a huge market will ensure ‘Make in India’ a success. Indian manufacturers in the defence & aerospace sector have the challenge to produce quality products at internationally competitive pricing to match demands as per users timelines and ensure post-sales support of high quality & reliability.