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Defence ministry allocates Rs 300 cr for technology development fund to promote Make in India products

Ministry of Defence

The Ministry of Defence has sanctioned over Rs 300 crore through its Technology Development Fund (TDF) to create an ecosystem aimed at enhancing capabilities in cutting-edge technology and promoting ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence, an official statement said on Thursday.

The Technology Development Fund (TDF) scheme is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Defence, executed by DRDO under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Under this initiative, the government provides grants-in-aid to Indian industries, including MSMEs and startups, as well as academic and scientific institutions, for the development of defence and dual-use technologies that are currently not available in the Indian defence industry.

With these initiatives, the Ministry aims to engage private industries, especially MSMEs and startups, to foster a culture of design and development in military technology and support them with grants-in-aid.

The TDF seeks to enhance the capacity and capability of Indian industries for the design and development of defence technologies in the country. It aims to create an R&D ecosystem where industry and academia work together to meet the current and future requirements of the Armed Forces and the defence sector. The government aims to achieve ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence technology by building a robust defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country.

The Defence Ministry on Wednesday highlighted several successful startups benefiting from the scheme.

Pune-based startup Combat Robotics, with the help of the scheme, has successfully developed an innovative simulator for unmanned vehicles. This multi-domain simulator supports unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), unmanned surface vehicles (USVs), and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), serving as an excellent development tool for agencies working on autonomous systems.

Another Pune-based defence equipment startup, ChiStats Labs Private Limited, is developing virtual sensors for aero gas turbine engine health monitoring, which helps to increase the operational reliability and longevity of the engines. The system is built on modern artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) technologies.

Bengaluru-based NewSpace Research and Technologies Pvt. Ltd., under the project titled ‘Autonomous Drone as First Responder for Search and Report Operations in Enclosed/Indoor Environments’, has created a cutting-edge UAV capable of exploring indoor environments under various conditions, including zero light.

The success of this project will open up various applications, including search and rescue operations, surveillance, industrial inspections, environmental monitoring, and hazardous environment exploration, contributing significantly to technological advancements in unmanned aerial systems, the Ministry added. The technology has been developed under the technical guidance and mentorship of CAIR, Bengaluru.