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Future of defense design is electric and miniaturization, says Army Chief, stresses need to reduce use of fossil fuels

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Ahmedabad, Feb 26 (PTI) “Electric” and “miniaturization” are the future of design and innovation in the defense sector and the dependence of fossil fuels should be reduced, Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane said here on Saturday.

Delivering inaugural address at a three-day Ahmedabad Design Week at Karnavati University, he also said the design of tanks has hardly changed since the first world war, and now the challenge is to design something that would be radically different and future-safe.

“What is the future as far as design and innovation is concerned in the fields of defence and aerospace? In this I think there are two things we have to concentrate upon. One is, the future is electric,” he said.

Besides electric vehicles, for which the Union government has prepared a clear roadmap, there is a need to use “electric-based things” which are not dependent on fossil fuels, Gen Naravane said.

“We have thousands of generators in forward areas, because there is no electricity supply there. These generators require fuels, and to transport the fuel you require vehicles, that has its cost. To generate one unit of electricity in forward areas, you spend 15 times the cost. Can we have some alternative which can generate electricity in forward areas that are not dependent on fossil fuels?” he said.

“Future is also in miniaturization…Size of our ships, aircraft have to be small out of necessity, and in that small space we have to pack more and more features. And therefore, miniaturization is one area in which we have to proceed,” he said.

Stating that the `VED’ aspect — Vital, Essential and Desirable — must be kept in mind when designing for the armed forces, Gen Naravane said requirements of modern-day battle fields are very daunting and diverse.

“And designing a system that fits everything, all in one — not only it is daunting, but sometimes it also becomes a non-starter and impractical to be achieved.

“If we do not change, we would perish,” he said, citing the example of companies such as Kodak, Nokia and HMT.

The Indian Army requires a design which can remain equally effective 50 years on, Gen Naravane said.

Designing is not only about products but also about processes, “how we do things and can we do it in a better manner, can we sequence things in a better manner,” he said.

“In this, the challenge is four Ds — discover, define, and once you have discovered what is to be done, develop the solution, deliver it to whoever requires it,” he added.

Calling for far-sighted development, he cited the example of tanks which have remained essentially the same all these years.

“When we now talk of design and innovation, we have to leapfrog, jump two-three steps ahead. From a caterpillar, we have to become a butterfly….that is the kind of innovation and design that we are looking at,” he said.

The Army Design Bureau has been set up to act as a facilitator between designers and the Army, Gen Naravane said.

“We need your help to make ourselves into a strong Army,” he said, adding that the scheme is meant to provide support to start-ups and MSMEs.

The Army has sought ideas under its Future Ready Combat Vehicle program, he said.

“The challenge is how we can make a tank which is radically different from what we have been used to,” he said, adding that it will meet the requirements of the Army only so long as what is designed today remains as effective 50 years on.

The development of new products and processes will now have civil-military fusion, and what happens in one field would have impact on the other, he said.

“Design complements military capabilities, and also has fallouts in civil spheres and population at large,” he said.

Changes in design need not always be profound but could be as simple as developing a modular structure that helps in operational logistics, the army chief said.

“See what is going to be the requirement on a day-to-day basis….We pay a bomb to buy things which we do not use on a day-to-day basis… In trying to get an all-in-one solution, you end up getting nothing. It would be better to concentrate on that vital and essential part,” he said. PTI KA PD NP KRK KRK KRK

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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