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Suchet Kathuria asked: What changes are suggested in Army Design Bureau which is meant to ensure seamless synergy to facilitate indigenous defence manufacturing?

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  • Rajneesh Singh replied: The Army Design Bureau (ADB) was created in August 2016 as an interface between the Indian Army, industry, the DRDO and academia to further the aim of providing the army with the best available technological solutions and serve as a repository of technical knowledge. The bureau also aims to achieve self-reliance in defence production. It identifies technology required by the army, provides user requirements to the industry and R&D entities and works to align the requirements of the army with the capability of the industry. For this purpose, it publishes 'Compendium of Problem Statements', which provides the stakeholders the information regarding the requirements of the Indian Army.

    The ADB, in pursuance of the Atmanirbhar Bharat policy, forms an essential link between the Indian Army and the stakeholders working for defence indigenisation initiatives of the government. The organisation is headed by a Major General rank officer and is assisted by officers from all arms and services, on a required basis. The officers posted to ADB are subject matter experts. They study niche technologies available all over the world that can be adopted by the Indian Army for addressing voids and improving efficiency.

    On its inception in 2016, the ADB was organised under the erstwhile Perspective Planning Directorate of the Indian Army. Post re-organisation of Integrated HQ of the MoD (Army) in 2020, the ADB has been functioning directly under the Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Capability Development and Sustenance [DCOAS(CD&S)]. The move has helped shorten the decision-making process for defence procurement and also provides the ADB with the information regarding the requirements of the army.

    In order to assist the industry in its efforts of developing defence products, the ADB has gone the extra mile by providing the industry access to equipment like engines of BMP, night sights of all infantry weapons, sniper rifles, medium machine guns and small arms ammunition for testing of equipment under development. In addition, the ADB has also coordinated more than 100 capability demonstrations by the industry which has facilitated more than 20 products being shortlisted for possible procurement.

    As part of its industry friendly policy and to gain from regional technology eco-systems, the ADB has launched Regional Technology Nodes at Pune and Bengaluru and is in the process of establishing more such nodes. In order to tap the young budding minds, the ADB has established the Indian Army Cell at IIT Delhi to undertake collaborative R&D projects. Two more such cells are planned to be established at IIT Kanpur & IISc Bengaluru.

    Since inception, the ADB has steered numerous MAKE-II projects, some of which have reached the prototype stage. It is currently progressing more than 150 R&D / D&D cases and is in the process of continuously identifying and launching more cases. Its active engagement with academia, reputed research institutes and industry is showing promising results.

    Defence projects require long gestation periods to fructify. In view of the above, it is a considered opinion that six years of existence is a limited period to judge the efficacy of the organisation, more so when the initial results have been promising.

    In conclusion, there is no need to recommend any changes in the organisation of the Army Design Bureau, for the moment.

    Posted on 31 January 2023

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.