The Indian Army has signed the second deal under the ‘Make in India’ initiative on June 9 with Bangalore-based Astrome Tech Pvt Ltd through Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) to purchase indigenously developed ‘Tactical LAN Radio’. In April 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced iDEX at the Defence Expo India.
The Army stated, “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”. It added, “With this initiative, the Indian Army has taken the lead by signing two contracts under iDEX till date”.
An indigenously created tactical local area network (LAN) solution is being developed to build secure tactical LANs in remote and difficult terrain. ‘Tactical LAN Radio’ is a cutting-edge, high-bandwidth backhaul wireless radio system to provide failsafe and dependable communication.
The solution provides a long-range point-to-multipoint high-bandwidth communication with an expanded communication range with an inbuilt frequency hopping system to prevent the possibility of interception. Improved safety safeguards are also incorporated into the system, which can run flawlessly for 48 hours on a single set basis without any breakdown.
Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)
An innovation ecosystem for Defence titled Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) was launched in April 2018 by PM Narendra Modi. iDEX is aimed at the creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries, including MSMEs, Startups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has excellent potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.
Taking the iDEX initiative further, the Ministry of Defence has launched the Defence India Startup Challenge, in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission, aimed at supporting Startups/MSMEs/Innovators to create prototypes and/or commercialise products/solutions in the area of National Defence and Security.
Under Defence Innovation Organisation’s (DIO), iDEX has acquired a lot of traction in the defence startup community over the past four years and has become a front-runner in forging the right kind of relationships with startups and innovators.
Currently, 42 projects of the Army in total are part of the Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC), Open Challenges and iDEX PRIME scheme, which entails assisting 41 companies in developing cutting-edge state-of-the-art solutions for difficulties faced by the Army.
The Indian Army has nominated a dedicated nodal officer and a category ‘A’ establishment as ‘Centre of Excellence’ for each challenge in order to provide hands-on assistance and constant support for the advancement of the projects. The Army’s iDEX projects that received a balance “Acceptance of Necessity” are also being finalised and will most likely result in contracts soon.