DRDO’s Life saving products save foreign exchange too

Products from Defence Bioengineering and Electrochemical Lab (DEBEL) a unit of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), saved India more than Rs 500 Crore worth in foreign exchange till date.

DEBEL developes protective equipment and life support systems for Indian Armed Forces combatants, who are exposed to physiologically and environmentally hostile conditions like high altitudes and Nuclear – Biological – Chemical (NBC) warfare.

The Anti G Suits, Automatic Inflatable Life Jackets, Integrated Helmets, Pressure Breathing Oxygen Masks, Pilot Overalls, Microphones, Earphones designed and developed by DEBEL are already in bulk production. The one-Man HAPO Bag developed by DEBEL, is a life saver to the Indian soldiers deployed at high altitudes. It provides emergency treatment for varying degrees of acute mountain sickness including High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPO), a condition of filling of fluids in the lungs brought on by inadequate acclamatisation. An updated, automated version has recently undergone successful user trials at Leh and Kardung La.

Table: Cost benefit of DEBEL Products

(Figures in Indian Rupees, Values in Crores)

Product
R & D Cost
Value of Orders executed
Cost if imported
Protective Equipment and Flying Clothing
0.51
39.48
237.00
NBC Products
0.42
75.99
455.94
HAPO Bag
0.33
1.13
1.80
Total
1.26
116.60
694.74

A DEBEL spokesman pointed out “this input – output ratio will become only better in the future as more and more orders of the above items are executed. Newer items are also expected to get added to the list. For example, DEBEL has recently completed a project for the design and development of Life Support Systems and Clothing required by Combat Paratroopers during the free fall from high altitudes and to establish indigenous sources of supply.”

DEBEL has a successful partnership with private sector industrial partners. The private sector is associated with the development from the initial stages of the project. At the end of successful user trials the technologies have been transferred to select firms. Says DEBEL spokesman “they had no hesitation in paying up the one-time Transfer Of Technlogy Fee as they are confident that the Army orders they will be asked to execute in the near future will adequately compensate them.”

Among other projects, DEBEL is also engaged in design of ergonomical layout of futuristic infantry combat vehicle ICV ABHAY.

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