What is Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) and what are its objectives?

Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) was launched by Prime Minister Modi in April 2018 to achieve self-reliance and foster innovation and technology development in the field of Defence and Aerospace by engaging MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, Research and Development institutes, academia, etc.

Arfa Javaid
Dec 17, 2020, 20:58 IST

Since Independence, India has aimed at achieving self-reliance in the field of defence and defence production. In light of this vision, the Government of India has initiated various schemes such as Make In India, Startup India, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM),  and so forth. 

What is iDEX?

Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) was promulgated by the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, Government of India. It was launched by Prime Minister Modi in April 2018. iDEX aims at achieving self-reliance and fostering innovation and technology development in the field of Defence and Aerospace by engaging MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes, academia, etc.

What are the main objectives of iDEX?

The main objectives of the iDEX are as follows:

1- To frame 'corporate Venture Capital’ models for Indian Defence needs thereby identifying emerging technologies, connecting innovators with military units, facilitating co-creation of new and appropriate technologies and so forth into weapon systems used by Indian Armed Services.  

2- To deliver military-grade products thereby solving the critical needs of the Indian defence set-up by developing or applying advanced technologies.

3- To devise a culture of innovation in the Indian Defence and Aerospace by engaging startups and innovators for co-creation and co-innovation. 

Image: Partners of iDEX

What is the Defence Innovation Organization (DIO)?

Defence Innovation Organization (DIO) is a Non-Profit Organisation (NOPO) established under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013. The founding members are Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). 

How iDEX works?

iDEX-DIO had launched the Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) to address problems faced by the Armed Forces, DPSUs & OFB. Start-ups or individual applications are invited to provide solutions to these problems and after rigorous evaluation of the applications, winners receive innovation grants in technological areas through the prototype funding guidelines called Support for Prototype and Research Kickstart (SPARK). This entails provisioning of grants up to a maximum of Rs 1.5 crore to the Start-ups on the basis of milestones through multiple tranches, for prototype development.  

About Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC)

The Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) has been launched under the Ministry of Defence in partnership with  Atal Innovation Mission. The program aims at supporting Startups/MSMEs/Innovators to create prototypes and/or commercialize products/solutions in the area of National Defence and Security.


On 4 August 2018, Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) was launched in Bengaluru by Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman. The innovators, organizations and individuals were presented with eleven 'problem statements' for resolution. 

Around 500 applications were received between 4 August 2018 to 24 October 2018. Out of these, 28 winners were shortlisted. 

Certificate of Partnership

The below-mentioned companies received 'Certificate of Partnership' for helping the Ministry of Defence in discovery, exploration and mentorship of Startups/MSMEs to co-create innovative Defence Technologies. 

1- Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship, IIM Ahmedabad

2- SINE, Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

3- T-Hub, Hyderabad 

4- FORGE - a branded incubation enterprise launched by the Coimbatore Innovation & Business Incubator (CIBI) 


DISC-II was launched with four 'Problem Statements'in domains such as Avionics, Drones, GPS based equipment and Radars. The innovators were asked to provide for development /incubation of state-of-the-art technological solutions.

On 21 February 2019, 28 applicants were felicitated and awarded ‘Certificates of Recognition’ by Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman.


DISC-III was launched with three 'Problem Statements' received from the Indian Army, Navy and Airforce. 

The 'Problem Statements' in DISC-III are as follows:

1- Four Axis Stabilized Antennae for CKU band operation

2- To create a Portable Spoof Emitter for Surveillance and Ground-based Air Defence Weapons

3- Fri-end or Foe identification System


DISC-IV was launched with eleven 'Problem Statements' and the innovators were asked to submit the resolution latest by 15 December 2020. 

The 'Problem Statements' in DISC-IV are as follows:

1- Autonomous Underwater Swarm Drones (Indian Navy)

2- Predictive, Preventive and Prescriptive Machine Learning (Indian Navy)

3- Super-Resolution for Aerial Imagery (Indian Airforce)

4- AI-based Satellite Image Analysis (Indian Army)

5- Prediction and Forecasting of Atmospheric Visibility (Indian Airforce)

6- Computer Generated Targets for Virtual Training (HAL)

7- Real-time Health Monitoring of Aircrew (Indian Airforce)

8- MF-TDMA based Wideband SATCOM Modem (BEL)

9- Foliage Penetration Radar(Indian Army)

10- Reduction of RCS of Naval Warships (GSL)

11- Target Detection in Chaff Environment (BEL)

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