Continuing with the commitment towards ‘Make in India’ initiative the Indian Army has signed the second procurement contract through Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) on 09 June 2023. The contract with M/s Astrome Tech Pvt Ltd, Bangalore for procurement of indigenously developed ‘Tactical LAN Radio’ was signed in presence of Lt Gen MV Suchindra Kumar, the Vice Chief of Army Staff at New Delhi. With this initiative, the Indian Army has taken a lead by signing two contracts under iDEX till date.
Tactical LAN solution is being developed indigenously for creating secure tactical LAN in remote and difficult terrain. ‘Tactical LAN Radio’ is a state of the art high bandwidth backhaul wireless radio equipment for provisioning of reliable and failsafe communication. The solution offers an enhanced range of communication and embedded frequency hopping mechanism to preclude chances of interception and long-range point-to-multipoint high-bandwidth communication. The system also incorporates the enhanced safety features and can operate continuously for 48 hours on a single set basis without any breakdown.
iDEX was launched by Hon’ble PM on 12 April 2018 during Defence Expo India 2018. The aim of iDEX is to create an eco-system to foster innovations and encourage technological development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging R&D institutes, academia, industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators and provide them grants/ funding and other support to carry out R&D which has good potential for future adoption by Indian Defence and Aerospace Organisation. Over the past four years, iDEX under ‘Defence Innovation Organisation’ has emerged as a front runner in establishing right kind of contact with the start-ups and innovators and has gained substantial traction in the defence start-up community.
At present a total of 42 projects of the Indian Army are part of Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC), Open Challenges and iDEX PRIME scheme which involves handholding of 41 start-ups for development of latest state of the art solutions for challenges posed by the Indian Army. For each challenge a dedicated nodal officer and a category ‘A’ establishment as ‘Centre of Excellence’ from the Indian Army has been nominated for handholding and continuous support for progress of the projects. Balance ‘Acceptance of Necessity’ accorded iDEX projects of the Indian Army are also under finalisation and are likely to fructify into contracts shortly.