The Indian Army has taken a lead in awarding the first ever procurement order of an Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) project as per the revised procedure. The contract for procurement of an indigenously developed ‘Integrated Mobile Camouflage System (IMCS)’ for Mechanised Forces was signed with Indian Startup Hyper Stealth Technologies Pvt Ltd on March 14, 2023, in presence of the Lt General J.B. Chaudhari, Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (CD&S) and Anurag Bajpai, Joint Secretary, DDP in Sena Bhawan.
The Integrated Mobile Camouflage System (IMCS) comprises of low emissivity and/or CAM-IIR coatings and Mobile Camouflage System materials providing the ability to the Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) to merge with a terrain background. The technology comprises of low emissivity coatings and mobile camouflage system material and will provide significant capability enhancement in stealth for AFVs. The niche technology will be a great leap in indigenous stealth technology and provide a boost to Aatmanirbharta. IMCS will achieve a reduction in the detection range of AFV when viewed through Hand Held Thermal Imager (HHTI) / Battle Field Surveillance Radar (BFSR) tank-based thermal camera under given environmental and weather conditions and signature management by controlling the Visual, Thermal, Infra-red & Radar Signatures of object.
iDEX was launched by PM during Def Expo India 2018. The aim of iDEX was to create an eco-system to foster innovation and encourage technological development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging R&D Institutes, Academia, Industries including MSMEs, Start-Ups, Individual Innovators and provide them grants/ funding and other support to carry out R&D which has good potential for future adoption by Indian Defence and Aerospace Organisation.
iDEX is funded and managed by Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) under MoD (DDP). Over past four years, iDEX under DIO has been able to emerge as a front-runner in establishing the right kind of contact with the Startups and Innovators and has gained substantial traction in the Defence Startup Community.
Currently, there are a total of 48 projects of the Indian Army as part of Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC), Open Challenges, iDEX4 Fauji & iDEX PRIME scheme which involves handholding of 41 Startups for the development of the latest state of art solutions for the challenges posed by Indian Army. For each challenge, a dedicated Nodal Officer & Establishment as Centre of Excellence from the Indian Army is nominated for handholding and providing continuous support in progressing their respective projects.
A further boost was given to the initiative in April 2022 as the revised methodology for iDEX was approved by the Defence Minister which ensures significant reduction in timelines of procurement to approx 24 weeks.
IMCS was the first system to be trial evaluated as per ‘Single Stage Composite Trial’ methodology based on revised DAP 2020. RFP was issued to the developing agency in September 2022 and within a record time of six months contract was signed on March 14, 2023.
Balance AoN accorded iDEX projects of the Indian Army are also under finalisation with a contract likely by mid-April 2023.