To provide private sector defence and aerospace companies affordable facilities to test and validate weaponry they are designing, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved on 15 May 2020 a Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) with an outlay of Rs 400 crore. Over decades, the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), the 41 Ordnance Factories (OFs) and eight Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) have created sophisticated and costly testing facilities for firearms, ammunition, electronics and radar at government expense. The private sector will have access to such facilities too.
- This is directed towards promoting indigenous defence capability, specifically amongst micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups.
- Defence Testing Infrastructure is often capital intensive requiring continuous upgradation, and it is not economically viable for individual defence industrial units to set up in-house testing facilities.
- The Scheme aims at setting up of Greenfield Defence Testing Infrastructure… as a common facility under private sector with government assistance, mainly in DICs (Defence Industrial Corridors), state the DTIS guidelines.
- While majority of test facilities are expected to come up in the two DICs (one in Tamil Nadu and the other in Uttar Pradesh), the scheme is not limited to setting up test facilities in the DICs only, a defence ministry release clarified.
- The DTIS scheme, which will run for five years, envisages setting up six to eight test facilities in partnership with private industry.
- Each such project will receive 75 per cent of its cost as government funding, while the remaining 25 per cent will be borne by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) composed of Indian private entities and concerned state governments.
- The SPVs, which will be registered under the Companies Act 2013, will be mandated to operate and maintain all the testing facilities, in a self-sustainable manner by collecting user charges. The equipment/systems tested will be certified as per appropriate accreditation.
- The DTIS guidelines specify the establishment of testing facilities for drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), radar, electronics/telecom equipment, rubber testing, noise and shock testing, specialised driving tracks, ship motion testing, ballistics and blast testing, and environmental test facilities.