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Promising Engineering Careers in Aerospace and Defence in India

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There are several avenues for professionals to contribute to Defence Ecosystem after DAP 2020 increased Indigenous Content (IC) requirement for all projects and provided career opportunities in relevant engineering, technology, and national security fields writes Lakshminarayanan K.V

The DAP 2020 was a landmark initiative under the “Atmanirbhar Bharat “scheme which seeks to build indigenous capabilities in the complex defence technology sector through the involvement of both public and private sectors. DAP 2020 enabled a slew of initiatives like informing about a List of Weapons or Platforms that will be banned for importing, it focuses on:

  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in defence manufacturing and indigenization of the manufacturing prices, use of indigenous software in defence equipment and ‘innovation’ by Start-ups and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) as a new category of defence acquisition.
  • Apart from the above key reforms, it increases the Indigenous Content (IC) requirement for all projects from 40% to 50% earlier, depending on the category, to 50% to 60%.

In the Union Budget 2022, India earmarked 68% of the military’s capital acquisition budget for purchasing locally produced weapons and systems to boost self-reliance in the defence sector, besides setting aside 25% of the defence R&D budget for private industry, startups and academia to encourage them to pursue design and development of military platforms.

Other Initiatives include,

  • Increased Capital Acquisition Budget (CAB) for Domestic Sector
  • Defence Industrial Corridors in the North and South of India
  • Innovation for Defence Ecosystem (IDEX),

IDEX is a holistic ecosystem to foster innovation & technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging innovators & entrepreneurs to deliver technologically advanced solutions for modernizing the India Military through the rapid development of new, indigenized and innovative technology and innovative startups to encourage co-creation. India’s aerospace and defence industry has started witnessing remarkable growth in recent years, driven by advancements in technology and increasing government investment.

All this has resulted in a spurt of diverse career opportunities across ten career streams specialised in vocations. It aids in helping individuals who are passionate about engineering, technology, and national security. From aerospace engineering to defence research and development, to project management and cybersecurity of high-security applications and electronic warfare, there are numerous avenues for professionals to contribute to this dynamic sector.

 Aerospace Engineering:

Aerospace engineering is a prominent career path involving the design, development, and maintenance of aircraft, spacecraft, and related systems. In India, aerospace engineers work on cutting-edge projects, including the development of next-generation aircraft, satellite technologies, and unmanned aerial vehicles. With opportunities to collaborate with leading aerospace organizations and research institutions, individuals in this field can make significant contributions to the advancement of aerospace technology.

Defence Engineering and Technology:

Defence engineering focuses on developing military equipment, systems, and technology solutions to enhance national security. The choice of career offers opportunities to work on a wide range of projects, from designing advanced weapon systems to developing state-of-the-art communication and surveillance technologies.

This involves design and development capabilities over the entire spectrum of Defence electronics including Launch Pad countdown systems, Processors, Power Transmitters, RF and Microwave, Embedded Software and Firmware, Checkout Systems, Test equipment, Military aircraft cockpit displays,Radars, Electronic Warfare (EW), Rugged Military Equipment suite, Flight Communication and Satellite Systems, Control Systems, and Navigation among others Range of Qualified Products available for future production contracts. Additionally, professionals in defence engineering play a critical role in ensuring the readiness and capability of India’s defence forces through the innovation and implementation of defence-related technologies.

Research and Development:

The aerospace and defence industry in India places a strong emphasis on research and development (R&D) to drive innovation and technological advancements. Careers in R&D involve working on cutting-edge projects, conducting experiments, and developing new solutions to address complex challenges in aerospace and defence. Through R&D, professionals have the opportunity to contribute to breakthroughs in areas such as propulsion systems, materials science, and autonomous technologies, ultimately shaping the future of the industry.

Management and Business Roles:

In addition to technical roles, the aerospace and defence industry in India offers promising career opportunities in management, sales, marketing, and business development. Professionals in these areas play a crucial role in facilitating partnerships, securing contracts, and driving the growth of aerospace and defence companies which is entirely different and more specialised than normal civilian and commercial deals. Moreover, individuals with expertise in supply chain management, regulatory compliance and cybersecurity are integral to ensuring the operational efficiency and highest level of security needed in aerospace and defence organizations.

Summary

The aerospace and defence industry in India presents an array of rewarding and challenging careers for individuals with a passion for innovation, engineering, and national security. Whether pursuing a career in aerospace engineering, defence technology, research and development, or business management, professionals will have the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of India’s capabilities in aerospace and defence. With continued investment and technological advancements, the industry holds significant promise for those seeking to make a meaningful impact in this dynamic and vital sector.

What is needed for a successful career in Aerospace and Defence apart from the obvious technical qualifications and skills are the more fundamental attributes ie, a passion for technology, aptitude, perseverance and discipline to engage in deep technology work and an innovative mind.

(Author is Vice President, Human Resource, Data Patterns)
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