Lt Gen (retd.) Dr V.J. Sundaram's passion, even at 75 years, is probably the stimulant for the Rs 100-crore national program for MAVs. Photo: Bhaktar Babu/Bangalore Beat
| AVIATION WEEK | Bangalore |
India | August 27, 2010
India’s National Program for Micro Air Vehicles (NP-MICAV) is finally on the launch pad, with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Department of Space and Technology (DST) sponsoring the Rs 100 crore ($21.5 million) mission. Eighty-two different projects in five years might sound too ambitious, considering the delays that Indian aerospace and defense projects often run into. But the team, consisting of experts from the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), National Design and Research Forum (NDRF), Indian Institute of Science, and Indian Institute of Technologies, as well as academic institutions and private industries, are confident that India will emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the MAV/NAV segment.
After spending three days with the NDRF team covering their activities, including MAV test flights, AVIATION WEEK’s Senior Aerospace and Defense Correspondent (India) Anantha Krishnan M. caught up with Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Dr. V.J. Sundaram, Advisor, Micro and Nano Systems, NDRF, to get an up-close view of the NP-MICAV program, which is undoubtedly the most exciting joint mission that Indian scientists have undertaken in many years. “It’s a huge challenge ... we need to develop intelligent flying machines that ought to be smaller and smarter,” says Dr. Sundaram – an icon in India’s missile programs – in the India Thought Leaders (ITL) interview series.
AW: What prompted the NDRF to get into the MAV segment?
V.J.S.: I am from the Indian Army and we faced a lot of issues during disaster management. The civil administrations were often clueless as to what needs to be done in an emergency and demanding situation. So the idea came up to have some simple and effective system that can be operated by anyone to assess the levels of natural disasters. Later on, there was a need to have these platforms for homeland security in the wake of increasing terror activities. Even the Indian Army can use these MAVs to check the happenings around a battalion. With a very large network of engineers, scientists and institutions available, we knew we could make an impact.
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