Kochi: Indian defence minister AK Antony has said Monday that the Indian Navy would be equipped with most modern systems which will enable the force to face challenges both in the Indian Ocean and far-flung areas. Dedicating 'Abhinavam,' a new technology complex at the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) here, to the nation, Antony said the force was not shy of facing challenges which was proven recently, when the navy warded off a pirate attack off Somalia at a time when the so-called advanced countries had not taken up the challenge to fight piracy.
''Navy is going to enter a field of massive modernisation with the acquisition of new ships, submarines and aircraft. The next few years will see a new face of the Navy to meet the challenges ahead,'' Antony said.
Describing the 'Abhinavam' technology complex as a landmark effort in developing world class sonar systems, he said the infrastructure at the complex to test transducers, carry sonar simulation studies and archive ocean data was impressive.
Antony also pointed out that the coastal states of the country faced threats from the sea and that challenges came not just from the Himalayas, but also by way of the sea.
Reiterating the UPA Government's commitment to indigenisation of defence equipment, Antony said the country presently depended on overseas suppliers for almost 70 per cent of its defence equipment. ''Our endeavour is to produce at least 70 per cent of our requirements in India itself,'' he added.
Speaking of the 'Abhinav' complex, Antony said it would help the NPOL scientists to pursue research in coastal surveillance systems, nano-materials for hydrophones and sensor devices and acoustic imaging.
Stating that the NPOL's efforts had made the country self-reliant in ship sonar and submarine sonar technology, Antony said NPOL's design had enabled the Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Bangalore, to produce nine sonar systems and that more than 50 installations of such systems, worth Rs50 crore, had been completed.
As the Navy's expansion plans were bound to lead to rising demand, the government had decided to set up a unit of the BEL close to the NPOL, he said.