The Indian Army is focusing on indigenous military technologies said Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande on Thursday replying to Financial Express Online while addressing media ahead of the Army Day on January 15. He added that the Army will receive the first batch of AK-203 assault rifle delivery by March 2023.
Niche military technologies
According to him, the Army has made a single point contact, a nodal agency at the army headquarter – The Army Design Bureau (ADB) for addressing the niche [military] technologies.
“Technologies are also being encouraged through iDEX which is launched by the Ministry of Defence. The Army has started 10 projects under the iDEX,” he added.
Highlighting the thrust for research and development the Army Chief pointed out the growing engagement with leading universities including Army Cell in the IITs. “We will use our Emergency Procurement to encourage such innovations; will evaluate and put them on trails in the field,” General Pande explained.
He also emphasized developing futuristic autonomous aerial systems and space-based capability through aatmanirbhata.
Recently, The Indian army has placed orders for 2,000 drones, some of which will be used for taking vital supplies to the higher altitude post. Some of the drones will be used for surveillance and reconnaissance work in high-altitude areas in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and other key strategic posts.
The AK-203 assault rifle delivery timeline
The Army Chief also spoke about the production timeline of the AK-203 assault rifle which is delayed, “Out of the 6 lakh plus AK -203 assault rifles, we will receive the 70,000 within 32 months, he said. The indigenous content in these will be from the range of 5 -17 percent. Rest will be 100 percent indigenous.”
In 2019, India and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement for setting up Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited– a joint venture to manufacture the AK-203 assault rifles. The project was announced by Indian PM Modi to produce new generation assault rifles for the Indian Armed Forces which will replace the existing Indian Small Arms System (INSAS).
The Army will get the first batch of 5000 AK-203 by March. Army Chief added: “we will meet the timeline as we go along.”