Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Big SPRINT: Sushil Ghule Led Siliconia Technologies Bags Major Naval-Tech Contract | All About Its Breakthrough Product

By Aritra Banerjee

Sushil Ghule, the CEO of Siliconia Technologies Private Limited, has secured an agreement under the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiative of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). This marks the 100th SPRINT (Navy) contract signed by iDEX, and the 250th contract signed overall. SPRINT, or Supporting Pole-vaulting in R&D through iDEX, is an initiative to promote the development of critical indigenous technologies for the Indian Navy.

The milestone deal was signed in New Delhi on May 15, 2023, in the presence of Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, Vice Chiefs of the three services and other senior civil and military Officers. With this achievement, the iDEX initiative is one step closer to inducting at least 75 technologies/products into the Indian Navy by August 2023 as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.’

What Is Siliconia Technologies Offering The Indian Navy?

Siliconia Technologies secured the deal by winning the challenge to develop a lightweight ASIC-based communication system prototype using software-defined antennas for Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and Geostationary satellite communication. The technology Siliconia developed will provide multiple independent receiver/transmitter sources that are essential in phased-array radars, typically used in satellite tracking.

The Sushil Ghule-founded company is working on two important use cases for the Navy based on Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). The relevance of these could be game-changing for India’s Naval force.

The ASIC-based maritime navigational radar is a highly advanced radar system specifically designed for marine navigation. In other words, the system is a type of integrated circuit that can be designed to perform a specific function. It offers several significant benefits over traditional radar systems that use general-purpose processors.

Def-tech pioneers from civil-military-academia share the frame

Game-changing Edge

Accuracy: ASIC-based radar systems are designed to provide highly accurate and reliable information about the location, speed, and direction of nearby vessels, as well as other objects in the water, such as buoys and hazards.

Speed: Such radar systems can process information quickly and efficiently, allowing faster and more responsive navigation in changing conditions.

Reliability: ASIC-based radar systems are highly reliable, with fewer moving parts and less chance of failure than traditional radar systems.

Reduced interference: The design is such that the ASIC-based radar systems operate with minimal interference from other electronic devices. This is crucial in reducing the risk of false readings and errors.

Lower power consumption: Another important feature of ASIC-based radar systems is the emphasis laid on lower power consumption. These systems are created to function on lesser energy than traditional radar systems. This not only reduces the overall fuel requirements of the vessel but also extends its battery life.

Four Benefits For Frequency Bands

As previously mentioned, the Integrated Circuit in these systems can be designed to perform a specific function. In the case of satellite communication antennas, an ASIC can be designed to support multiple frequency bands. This allows the antenna to be frequency-agnostic. That means that it can operate across a wide range of frequencies. There are several benefits to having a frequency-agnostic satellite antenna.

Flexibility: A frequency-agnostic antenna can support multiple satellite communication systems. This provides greater flexibility and versatility for the user.

Future-proofing: As new satellite communication systems are developed, and new frequency bands become available, a frequency-agnostic antenna can be updated to support these new systems. There is no need to replace the entire setup.

Reduced cost: A frequency-agnostic antenna can be more cost-effective than purchasing multiple antennas designed to operate at different frequencies.

Simplified installation & maintenance: With a single frequency-agnostic antenna, installation and maintenance can be streamlined, reducing the time and cost required for these activities.

Siliconia Technologies, when it becomes successful in creating these global products, would provide a strategic and tactical advantage to the Indian Navy. Further, their offerings could support the Prime Minister’s aim of Security and Growth For all in the Region (SAGAR) and Make in India. With all the island nations and African countries needing cost-effective solutions, these products will allow India to make a strong export impression in the world market.

When asked about the role their innovative technology would play in the larger ecosystem, Sushil Ghule, the CEO of Siliconia Technologies, succintly summed it up, saying, “the math of innovation is crystal: knowledge drives innovation, and innovation drives productivity. Users provide conducive policies and environment, and in return, productivity drives economic growth.”

Critical Structural Support

Lieutenant General VG Khandare (r), Principal Advisor, Ministry of Defence, has praised the groundbreaking 100th SPRINT (Navy) contract as a significant milestone towards achieving strategic self-reliance, showcasing the impressive progress made by the SPRINT initiative.

“The result of the hard work was the Prime Minister’s declaration during the Swavalanban event in July 2022, throwing to the industry the 75 challenges. The Indian Navy and MoD have gone beyond the 75 challenges and signed the 100th contract,” Lt Gen. Khandare said.

Through its robust financial backing, iDEX has stimulated a surge of ingenuity within the defence industry, yielding novel technologies and solutions that fortify India’s capabilities and heighten security measures. The supportive environment it provided to Siliconia Technologies is no different. The company was able to cultivate a breakthrough in the defence technology industry that offers decisive military advantages due to iDEX’s support to high-risk research and development initiatives.

Ghule, too, noted the benefits of the program. He said that he is proud that the Ministry of Defence created a great program like iDEX under the Department of Defence Production. Ghule is also thinks that Indian Navy’s SPRINT, wherein User, Innovator and the Government come in together to solve challenges, is to be percolated to other services, departments, and parts of the government to make Atamnirbhar Bharat a reality soon.

Sushil Ghule: The Technocrat Behind The Deal

In its endeavour towards that ambitious goal, Siliconia Technologies is led by Sushil Ghule, an accomplished engineer and entrepreneur. Under his leadership, the company’s primary focus lies in ASIC technology, advancing beam-forming technology, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

As the CEO of the company, Ghule has provided Siliconia Technologies with a vision to establish it as a pioneering research and development company in engineering solutions. Siliconia Technologies has cultivated a robust team of talented engineers and associates, driving the development of critical platforms and technologies in-house.

Ghule believes active participation from the indigenous defence industry ecosystem is crucial for effecting meaningful change. Ghule and his company’s unwavering dedication to the Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) initiative is evident in his approach.

Sushil said that he believes that team Siliconia represents not only them but the aspirations of hundreds of startups which have been given this opportunity by the vision of PM Modi.

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