Economy

‘Electronics remains a big challenge for Defence'

M. Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on August 10, 2011

Dr V.K.Saraswat

New manufacturing units need of the hour: DRDO chief Saraswat





Though Indian defence scientists have successfully launched missiles and developed a wide range of technology products to beef up the country's security and meet the needs of the armed forces, electronics continues to remain a comparatively weak link.

Value addition

“Electronics still remains a big challenge for the defence and strategic industry in the country,” says Dr V.K. Saraswat, Chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has a string of over 40 national laboratories across the country.

In the commercial sector, international players dominate the domestic market today. In most products more than 60 per cent is imported and our own value addition is small, Dr Saraswat, who is also Scientific Advisor to the Defence Ministry, told Business Line here recently.

To address the needs of the sector, a new electronic development policy was being formulated.

Dr Saraswat, a member of the committee, said top quality of electronics products and creating new manufacturing facilities were the need of the hour.

Stating that this means huge investments were necessary, Dr Saraswat said the private sector was investing in product manufacturing and not in core technology development at present.

It would be practical to have a public-private-partnership model in the electronics sector.

Product engineering was rather weak in electronics. In microwave, communication, robotics and sensors, the DRDO chief said, there is a need to development indigenous capabilities and quality products.

The upcoming electronics development policy will address some of these issue, he said.

DRDO initiatives

In defence electronics, Dr Saraswat said the DRDO is building systems for cyber security. There is a comprehensive programme to develop capabilities in ensuring cyber security.

In the case of hardware, efforts have been initiated to develop routers, sensors and sensitive products to meet in-house needs.

For example, the Research Centre Imarat in Hyderabad recently developed a fibre gyro for use in the missile systems.

The DRDO has also an ongoing Microeletromechanical Systems programme in which several of its laboratories, public sector units and universities are taking part to develop miniaturised products. Development of a wide range of sensors, like biosensors, was also on. Sensors play a key role in various defence systems that control and operate.

The semiconductor foundry called SITAR (Society for Integrated Technology and Applied Research) in Bangalore is also being upgraded to meet the needs of the industry, especially devices for the telecom and communications sectors, he added.

Published on July 18, 2011

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