The Indian Navy is making significant strides in the development of niche technologies through its ‘Swavlamban’ initiative, which fosters collaboration with startups and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The initiative, launched last year, aims to advance indigenous technologies across various domains, from autonomous weaponized swarms to fire-fighting robots and beyond.
Vice Admiral S J Singh, Navy vice chief, highlighted the progress achieved under the ‘Swavlamban’ initiative, stating that it has not only accelerated technology development but also streamlined procurement processes. The Navy has secured Acceptance of Necessity (AoNs) for 12 projects, valued at nearly Rs 1,500 crores, with procurement orders worth Rs 200 crore already signed. Singh emphasized that more such contracts are on the horizon.
Many of these innovative products and prototypes have emerged from the Supporting Pole-vaulting in R&D through Innovation for Defence Excellence (SPRINT) challenge. These technologies will be showcased at the upcoming ‘Swavlamban’ seminar-cum-exhibition scheduled for October 4-5 at Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi. During the event, the Navy will also unveil ‘Swavlamban 2.0,’ an updated indigenization roadmap.
One noteworthy development is the fire-fighting robot, which underwent successful trials on the new aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. This robot is designed to detect and extinguish fires with water or foam jets, enhancing onboard safety by keeping sailors away from danger zones.
Last year, the Indian Navy committed to developing at least 75 niche technologies or products through the ‘Swavlamban’ initiative. Over 1,100 proposals were received from startups and MSMEs, and 118 firms were declared winners. Notably, this initiative has not only exceeded its initial goals but also introduced approximately 100 new firms into the defense ecosystem.
Vice Admiral Singh emphasized that self-reliance (‘Aatmanirbharta’) has always been a core principle of the Navy. In recent years, this focus on maximizing indigenous capabilities has gained even greater importance in the context of evolving geostrategic challenges. The ‘Swavlamban’ initiative reflects the Navy’s commitment to advancing technology and fostering innovation through strategic partnerships with the private sector, ultimately strengthening India’s defense capabilities.