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Ministry of Defence inks MoU to establish advanced testing facilities in Tamil Nadu

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has taken a step towards bolstering India’s defence capabilities by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up state-of-the-art testing facilities in Chennai under the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Defence, the MoU, exchanged between senior MoD officials and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited, was formalized in the presence of Defence Secretary, Giridhar Aramane today in New Delhi.

Under the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS), initiated with an outlay of Rs 400 crore by Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh in May 2020, the MoD aims to establish cutting-edge testing facilities in collaboration with private industry and state governments, read the press release.

This initiative is designed to promote indigenous defence production, reduce dependency on imports of military equipment, and enhance self-reliance in defence technologies.

The MoU specifically outlines the establishment of three advanced testing facilities in the domains of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), Electronic Warfare (EW), and Electro Optics (EO).

These facilities will play a crucial role in providing state-of-the-art testing capabilities to both government entities and private sector partners within the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor.

The DTIS provides substantial support through up to 75 per cent government funding as ‘Grant-in-Aid’, with the remaining 25 per cent funded by Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) comprising Indian private entities and state or central governments, read the press release.

This funding mechanism aims to encourage collaborative efforts in the development of critical defence testing infrastructure.

For the UAS testing facility, Keltron, a government undertaking from Kerala, leads the SPV consortium, supported by private sector companies.

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and India Optel Limited (IOL) are the lead SPV members for the EW and EO testing facilities respectively, further underscoring the collaboration between public and private sectors in advancing defence technologies, read the press release.

Upon completion, these facilities will be equipped with advanced testing equipment and capabilities, facilitating rigorous evaluation and certification of defence equipment and systems. This initiative is expected to significantly boost India’s pursuit of ‘Aatmanirbharta’ (self-reliance) in defence manufacturing and technology.