The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Tuesday released a list of 75 technology priority areas

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Tuesday released a list of 75 technology priority areas including missile systems, aero structures, armoured and combat vehicles, autonomous systems, electronic warfare, guidance and navigation, surveillance and tracking, guided artillery and multi-barrel rockets.

“The list identified by the DRDO is further divided into 403 technological categories, which spread out to 1,295 current and future technology development tasks,” the defence ministry said in a statement. The list was announced at the DRDO’s ‘Anusandhaan Chintan Shivir’ held in the national capital to encourage defence R&D in industry and academia.

India has taken several measures over the past 4-5 years to boost self-reliance in defence. These steps include a series of phased import bans, creating a separate budget for buying locally made military hardware, increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) from 49% to 74% and improving ease of doing business.

The DRDO Technology Foresight 2023, which lists all technology development activities, was unveiled at the event. “The list of activities identifies future technology areas that are required for the development of defence systems and defence R&D for strengthening the security of the nation,” the statement said.

The other priority areas include hypersonic technologies, cyber, information and communication security, directed energy, electro optics, diesel engine, electronic devices, firefighting, hydro structures, mines and mines detection, parachute technology, propulsion technologies and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Unveiling the technology priority areas will provide a major fillip to the defence manufacturing sector by encouraging the industry to indigenise defence technologies to place India on the self-reliance trajectory, the statement added.

The DRDO, industry and academia should work in synergy to take the technologies from a low to an advanced level so that these can be taken up for mass production, DRDO chairperson Samir V Kamat said.

India has employed a two-pronged approach to achieve indigenisation through import bans. One approach relates to banning the import of platforms such as fighter jets, warships, helicopters and artillery guns, while the other covers subsystems, spares and components.

As part of the former, India has published four lists that have imposed a phased import ban on 411 different types of weapons and platforms including light weight tanks, naval utility helicopters, artillery guns, missiles, destroyers, ship-borne cruise missiles, light combat aircraft, light transport aircraft, long-range land attack cruise missiles, basic trainer aircraft, and airborne early warning and control systems. These platforms are expected to be indigenised in the next 5-6 years.

As part of the other approach, India has imposed a phased import ban on 4,666 items, including replacement units, subsystems, spares and components. Of these, 2,736 items have been indigenised so far in a fresh push for self-reliance and the remaining will be manufactured in India in line with the prescribed timelines between December 2023 and December 2029.

These items are used in a raft of military platforms including fighter planes, helicopters, trainer aircraft, warships, tanks, infantry combat vehicles, high-mobility trucks, defence electronics and different types of ammunition.