Navy is in the Process of Setting up its Own Private Cloud Infrastructure and Gravitating Towards DevOps and NetOps Similar to Successful Modern IT Organisations
Given the emerging geopolitics of the Indian Ocean Region, what is the navy’s threat assessment, in the short, medium and long term? With these in mind, what is your roadmap for capability-building?
Force-level accretion and capability development is pursued factoring extended lead times and high investment costs required by maritime forces. We also continuously assess the future threat environment and technological trends, to identify major thrust areas and required critical capabilities. This enables our planners to monitor, update and review inter-se priority, make appropriate decisions to refine capability perspective plans, and allocate necessary financial, technical and human resources to aid the procurement and development process. The major thrust areas for us are: Indigenistion for Self-Reliance, Standardisation and Modularity, Maritime Domain Awareness, Network Centric Operations, Enhanced Reach and Sustainability, Power Projection and Sea Control, Force Protection, Joint Operations, Special Forces Operations, Force Maintenance, Infrastructure, Cyber and Logistics and New and Evolving Technologies.
The modernisation plan in future includes induction of aircraft carriers, ships, nuclear powered submarines, conventional submarines, and induction of certain state-of-the-art weapons, sensors and equipment. Further, development of technical and support infrastructure for maintenance of these new inductions is also being progressed.
Similarly, we are also focussing on induction of long-range sensors and weapons with precision strike capability for our platforms. Our preferred mode of induction is through the indigenous route, as far as feasible. Going forward, the Indian Navy is also seeking to harness niche technology towards effective use of resources. Unmanned solutions, autonomous vehicles and new age weapons and sensors would be part of our capability in future. We have also embarked on a focused drive to integrate Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics into our scheme of things. Integration of these systems with shipboard equipment is challenging and, therefore, capability to integrate varied technologies and systems is also being given adequate attention.
At the MoD-FICCI webinar in August, the government said that Project-75I was in the final stages of legal vetting and RFP would be announced within this year. Is it on track or do you think it may slip into the next year?
The shortlisting of Indian Strategic Partners and Foreign OEMs has been approved by DAC. RFP for Project P-75(I) is being processed for final approval of MoD and will be issued post requisite approvals by January 2021.
In terms of future warfare, what kind of capability is the navy looking at in terms of autonomous platforms and AI-driven technologies? Last year, you mentioned that AI/ Big Data Analytics (BDA) laboratory is being set up for training of personnel. What is the update on that?
Indian Navy is currently exploring various possibilities with respect to utilisation of autonomous platforms and AI-driven technologies for priority areas identified jointly by the three Services, as well as specific areas of the Navy. These priority areas for the Navy are: multi-platform, multi sensor data fusion for situational awareness and a common operating picture, target recognition and prioritisation, cyber security across defence networks & embedded systems, cognitive radio, intelligent supply chain & logistics, predictive maintenance, robotics & autonomous systems, big data analytics & data fusion and counter-AI/ AI Safety.
In the recently published iDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence) challenge (hosted on https://idex.gov.in), Navy has sought solutions from Indian start-ups/ academia for collaborative effort for Autonomous Underwater Swarm Drones and Predictive, Preventive & Prescriptive Machine Monitoring. In addition to iDEX, various AI and Big Data projects and studies in collaboration with the Indian academia as well industry are underway for various use cases. An emphasis towards developing solutions in-house/ within India expertise is being fostered by the Indian Navy.
The AI/ BDA lab has already been setup at INS Valsura, a premier IT training establishment of the Indian Navy and training courses have commenced. Centres of Excellence have been established for Big Data, Analytics and 5G within the Navy. We have also established links with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for latest IT technologies and are in touch with NIC’s Centres of Excellence on Big Data Analytics, AI & Blockchain technologies.
Navy is in the process of setting up its own private cloud infrastructure and gravitating towards DevOps (Software Development Operations) and NetOps (Network Operations) similar to successful modern IT organisations. We are streamlining our data management and are standardising various e-Processes. As part of this effort an Enterprise Data Lake has already been provisioned within the new digital infrastructure.
Navy’s quest into latest technologies are being monitored at the Apex level through an institutional process. We are resolutely focused on a largescale Digital Transformation of the Indian Navy in all spheres, be it Operations, Operational Support, Maintenance, Logistics or Administration.
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