The Indian government has set in motion several initiatives to energise the defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country. While manufacturing is being boosted through multiple initiatives of the government, they would need to be complimented by efforts to equip, synchronise and streamline the testing ecosystem. This is particularly relevant considering the stringent defence standards and testing / quality assurance requirements that are necessary for equipment and material to comply with. Therefore, in order for the manufacturing ecosystem to grow sustainably, existing and emerging manufacturer in the A&D sector would need to acquire a high level of familiarity with:-
- Specific standards and test requirements applicable to successful acceptance of the particular equipment / material
- Testing equipment / facilities / infrastructure that are required to prove the compliance of the manufactured equipment / material to the relevant standard
- Details of existing facilities if any i.e. location, specific type of tests that can be carried out, means of accessing the facilities, specific standards to which tests can be carried out at these facilities.
Testing facilities or Infrastructure is a broad term used to denote the various facilities established to offer services to the industry. It houses equipment required to gauge the finished products with reference to the requisite standards and specifications as per the product requirements published in a tender. To establish the envisaged next generation indigenous domestic defence manufacturing industry, the private players need a robust and state of the art support in terms of testing infrastructure. On account of the stringent standards and specifications required in the defence industry, many a times, private players venturing into this sector or existing MSMEs face a mammoth challenge of catering to the testing requirements of these products.
The MoD in its endeavour to encourage the emerging manufacturing ecosystem, has consciously made an effort to open the existing defence test facilities in DRDO laboratories, DPSU and Armed Forces to emerging manufacturers and equipment developers, particularly the MSMEs. The recently announced Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) aims to provide a focused, structured and significant thrust to indigenous defence manufacturing by providing state of art testing facilities to the defence design and production industry in the country. The recent union budget has also highlighted the setting up of a nodal body for testing and certification requirements of defence systems. In order to assess the defence testing ecosystem that is currently available, KPMG in India has carried out a study based on research, analysis and survey of MSMEs, start-ups and established industry players to evaluate the familiarity to applicable standards, availability of test facilities and ease of access. In order to provide a benchmark for standardisation, case study has also been carried out highlighting the development of defence standards in the USA. The study covers the existing test capabilities that have been made available to the private sector along with steps taken with regards to standardisation and development of defence standards. The report highlights the challenges and needs as felt by the industry at large along with insights in specific areas for strengthening the defence testing ecosystem in India.