The Indian Navy has recently given accordance of necessity (AON) approval for 12 autonomous weaponised boat swarms, which have been developed by Pune-based Sagar Defence Engineering.
Why in News?
- Sagar Defence Engineering Private Limited has emerged as the winner of the iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) DISC-7 program, particularly under the SPRINT framework.
- The agreement between the Indian Navy and the organisation marks the 50th contract awarded under the SPRINT program.
About Autonomous Weaponised Boat Swarms:
- These swarms are strategically designed for naval tactics, employing a coordinated deployment of numerous small unmanned boats to overwhelm an adversary’s naval defenses.
- They are equipped with a variety of weapons and sensors that are capable of remote or autonomous operation.
- They are equipped with an integrated system capable of executing a variety of naval and security missions, such as littoral/ODA Patrol, High-Speed Interdiction, Coastal Surveillance, Local Naval Defence, Constabulary Operations, C4ISR, Medium-Sized Unmanned Surface Vessel, and Low-Intensity Maritime Operations (LIMO).
What is the SPRINT Initiative?
- It is an initiative to promote the development of niche defence technologies by domestic companies.
- The Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO), in conjunction with the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), aims to induct at least 75 new indigenous technologies/products into the Indian Navy as a part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebration.
- This collaborative project is named SPRINT - Supporting Pole-Vaulting in R&D through iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence), NIIO and TDAC (Technology Development Acceleration Cell).
- It was launched by the Prime Minister in July, 2022.
Key Facts about iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence):
- It is the flagship initiative of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), launched in April 2018.
- Aim: To achieve self-reliance and foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes, and academia.
- iDEX has partnered with leading incubators in the country to provide handholding, technical support, and guidance to the winners of iDEX challenges.
- iDEX will be funded and managed by a ‘Defence Innovation Organization (DIO)’ which has been formed as a ‘not for profit company as per Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013 by the two founder members, i.e. Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) - HAL & BEL.
- iDEX will function as the executive arm of DIO, carrying out all the required activities, while DIO will provide high-level policy guidance to iDEX.
- Under iDEX, financial support is provided to Start-ups/MSMEs/individual innovators and Partner Incubators through DIO.
Q1) What is the Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO)?
The Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) was launched by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in August 2020. Keeping in line with ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ vision, the NIIO establishes specialised structures for end users to interact with academia and industry in order to foster innovation and indigenization for self-reliance in defence.