Swavlamban 2023 to Showcase Autonomous Weaponised Boat Swarms, Firefighting Robots, Underwater Swarm Drones

Indian Navy

New Delhi: At its upcoming innovation and indigenisation seminar, Swavlamban 2023, the Indian Navy will showcase 75 new technologies to highlight advances made in some critical areas during the last one year.

The navy committed to developing 75 technologies, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations to mark the 75th year of India’s Independence at its maiden edition in July 2022, reported a media outlet.

The second edition of the innovation and indigenisation seminar, Swavlamban 2023 is being organised by the navy at Bharat Mandapam on October 4-5. In its latest indigenisation push, Indian Navy will showcase underwater swarm drones, autonomous weaponised boat swarms, blue-green lasers for underwater applications, multiple firefighting systems and small drones with ultra-high endurance for maritime missions, according to a media report which cited officials aware of the matter.

At a curtain-raiser to the seminar, navy vice chief Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh said, “These technologies are world-class and are being turned into products, and the defence ministry has accorded its initial approval, or acceptance of necessity (AoN), to some of these to pave the way for their induction into the armed forces.” Identified by the navy, these technologies have been or are being developed by local start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as part of the navy’s goal to boost self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector.

Twelve products worth around Rs 1,500 crore have got AoN and approval for military hardware worth another Rs 1,500 crore is expected in the coming months, Singh said, while underscoring that converting technologies into products takes time.

“Last year, the navy had committed to developing at least 75 technologies as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. Today, I can say with confidence that the Swavlamban initiative has gained critical mass and is gathering continuous momentum. The promises made last year have been fully met, and even surpassed in some cases,” Singh said.

Under India’s defence procurement rules, AoN by the defence acquisition council is the first step towards buying weapons and systems needed by the armed forces, though actual induction often takes years.

According to Commodore Arun Golaya, who heads the navy’s technology development acceleration cell, the products to be showcased at the conclave include firefighting suits made from carbon nano tubes and aerogel-based fabric and firefighting robots that have undergone trials on aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.

Vice Admiral Singh added, around 1,100 proposals were received last year from startups and MSMEs in response to the 75 technology challenges, with 118 firms declared winners. The results have been to the navy’s satisfaction, and many of the products that have been developed will find their way into the other two services, government and civilian sectors, and hold export potential too.