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Joint US-India Endeavor Advances Defense Innovation in Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles through Indus-X program

Source : IgMp Bureau

Joint US-India Endeavor Advances Defense Innovation in Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles through Indus-X program

Joint US-India Endeavor Advances Defense Innovation in Unmanned Surface and Underwater Vehicles through Indus-X program

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) has officially declared the commencement of the inaugural meeting of the Indus-X Senior Advisory Group, in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD). The establishment of Indus-X signifies a pivotal platform for the reciprocal exchange of pioneering concepts, with the primary objective of fortifying the defense acceleration ecosystems of both nations.

This collaborative initiative has materialized as a direct consequence of the burgeoning defense affiliations between the United States and India, as articulated in the ‘Roadmap for US-Indian Defense Industrial Co-operation’ ratified in June of the current year. The co-chairpersons for this significant meeting were Doug Beck, the Director of the US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), and Lindsey Ford, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Southeast Asia. They were joined by Mr. Anurag Bajpai, Joint Secretary (Defence Industries Promotion) at the Indian Ministry of Defence.

The deliberations during the meeting encompassed an array of ongoing undertakings aimed at fostering innovation, thereby enhancing the capabilities of the armed forces of both nations to safeguard a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Furthermore, the gathering unveiled the thematic areas for the first two collaborative challenges, with particular emphasis on undersea communication and maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

In alignment with the provisions outlined in the ‘Roadmap for US-Indian Defense Industrial Co-operation,’ these challenges will serve as opportunities for startups from both nations to devise technological solutions for shared defense challenges. The most promising technological innovations will stand eligible for financial incentives and potential procurement prospects. The forthcoming launch of these challenges, facilitated by the DIU and iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence), is scheduled for later this month.

The Senior Advisory Group also extended a warm embrace to the endeavors of non-governmental stakeholders who are dedicated to realizing the Indus-X collaboration agenda. Notable instances include the collaborative efforts of Hacking4Allies and IIT Hyderabad, who orchestrated a program benefiting 50 Indian startups by aiding them in commercialization, talent acquisition, and expansion. Additionally, Pennsylvania State University and IIT Kanpur convened a virtual symposium that brought together American and Indian academicians, government officials, and industry delegates, with the intention of advancing dialogues pertaining to the nurturing of innovation ecosystems in emerging domains such as artificial intelligence, space exploration, and cyber security.

The group acknowledged the commendable efforts of private investors in mobilizing capital to support defense and dual-use technology startups in both the United States and India. They committed to facilitating a more pronounced two-way influx of capital, thereby fostering innovation and integration within the private defense sectors of their respective nations.

In the global landscape of defense strategies, there exists a palpable emphasis on the development and incorporation of unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) to establish hybrid fleet structures. This strategic shift is driven by the objectives of augmenting survivability, enhancing operational efficiency, and mitigating long-term operational costs. According to forecasts by GlobalData, expenditures within the global UUV market are slated to witness a substantial rise, surging from $379 million in 2023 to an estimated $965 million by 2033. This upsurge is primarily attributed to the proliferation of autonomous mine countermeasure capabilities and the pervasive adoption of hybridized fleet initiatives by various nations.

Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that, despite the burgeoning UUV market, the USV sector continues to outpace its counterpart. The global USV market is anticipated to attain a substantial valuation of $3.16 billion by 2033, a remarkable escalation from the $894 million recorded in 2023. This underscores the pivotal importance of investments and innovation in the domain of unmanned surface vehicles within the realm of the defense sector.

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