Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Chairman G Satheesh Reddy on Saturday said the country must focus on more indigenous defence production to reduce import in the sector and should become self-reliant in technology. Indigenous produce in defence manufacturing is currently about 45-50 per cent only, he said.
Our indigenous produce in defence (sector) is close to 45-50 per cent only. We have a lot of imports. We need to improve (the share of indigenous production) and work on new technologies, Reddy said. He also said the research organisation, engaged in developing defence technologies, should become a technology leader and it has a lot to do to ensure that the country reduces its imports in defence sector.
We should become self-reliant in any technology, he said, adding that the ultimate aim is to supply the technology to other countries to enable the domestic defence industry to sustain itself and earn foreign exchange. Reddy, who is also secretary Department of Defence R&D, said the country had developed its own light combat aircrafts and the number of fighter jets that would come from DRDO in the next ten years would be the worlds best.
In the next ten years, the number of aircrafts that will come from us, will be the worlds best, Reddy said, addressing the 6th convocation of the National Institute of Technology here. He further said, We have developed our own light combat aircraft, Tejas, and we are among the six nations in the world to have developed Eurofighter aircrafts. The DRDO chief urged students to be innovative and said the government is supporting for innovation.
We need to improve our defence technologies and the government is providing a lot of opportunities. There are many startups in NITs and IITs. We have set up centre of excellence in several institutes and are working with over 150 academic institutes on various projects, said Reddy. He said that the DRDO had come up with many technologies in the past few years and developed a complete range of indigenous radar systems. We have made our ballistic missile defence system. We are capable of building any radar and have developed sonar (a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate,) that is fitted on ships. In fact, imported submarines are now fitted with indigenous sonar today, he said.
Reddy said India is in the league of countries such as the US, Russia and China that developed high precision missile system. The Indian Air Force had issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for around 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Mk1A aircraft at an estimated cost of Rs 45,000 crore, he said adding that ten out of 83 aircrafts will be the two-seater, which will be used for training.
This is in addition to the earlier IAF order of 40, bringing the total to 123 LCA Tejas, he added.