The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced its first Indus-X Senior Advisory Group meeting with the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Indus-X serves as a platform in which both governments share ideas for innovation to strengthen their defence acceleration eco-system.

This platform evolved from the strengthened defence ties between the two countries, captured by the ‘Roadmap for US-Indian Defense Industrial Co-operation,’ agreed in June this year.

First Indus-X meeting – incentivising start-up innovation

The US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) Director Doug Beck and Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Southeast Asia Lindsey Ford co-chaired the meeting alongside Mr. Anurag Bajpai, Joint Secretary (Defence Industries Promotion) of the Indian MoD.

Participants discussed ongoing initiatives to drive innovation and equip both countries’ armed forces with the capabilities they need to defend a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Both agencies announced topics for the first two joint challenges, focused on undersea communication and maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

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Aligned with the ‘Roadmap for US-Indian Defense Industrial Co-operation’, the challenges provide for start-ups in both countries to develop technological solutions for shared defence challenges, culminating in financial awards for the most promising technology along with potential procurement opportunities; the DIU and IDEX will open the challenges to start-ups later this month. 

The Senior Advisory Group welcomed initiatives by non-governmental stakeholders to implement the Indus-X collaboration agenda.

On August 25, Hacking4Allies and IIT Hyderabad hosted a programme for 50 Indian start-ups to equip them to commercialise, recruit talent, and expand.

On August 29, Pennsylvania State University and IIT Kanpur convened a virtual group of US and Indian academics, government officials, and industry representatives to advance discussions on developing innovation ecosystems in emerging domains like AI, space, and cyber.

The Group also noted efforts by private investors to generate capital for US and Indian defence and dual-use technology start-ups. They also committed to facilitating greater two-way flow of capital to support innovation and integration between their respective private defense sectors.

Undersea capability market data

According to GlobalData intelligence, navies around the globe are increasingly investing in the development and integration of unmanned surface vehicles (USV) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) to create ‘hybrid’ fleet structures in the interest of enhancing survivability, increasing efficiency, and reducing the long-term costs of naval operations.

GlobalData forecasts expenditures in the global UUV market to rise from $379m in 2023 to $965m by 2033 as the market continues to surpass its previous records.

Demand for military UUVs continues to be driven by the development of autonomous mine countermeasure capabilities and the implementation of hybridised fleet initiatives by several nations including China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US.

However, the market for USVs continues to far outpace that of UUVs, with GlobalData anticipating the value of the global USV market to reach $3.16bn in 2033, up from $894m in 2023.