By Anantha Krishnan M & Tiki Rajwi
Express News Service
Bangalore\T'puram: The land of Sree Padmanabhaswamy is likely to roll out swift and sure Brahmastras that will ensure a kill-job as clean as a whistle. As a pointer to this delayed, yet dynamic project, a low-key bhoomi puja was conducted on January 27, at a piece of land recently 'acquired' by BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL), in Chakkai, next to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. If all goes well, Ananthapuri will be the next address for India's supersonic-stealth cruise missile BrahMos.
Kept under wraps for reasons best known to BATL officials, the boomi puja was attended by A Sivathanu Pillai, BrahMos Aerospace CEO; V G Sekhar, Director, ASL, Hyderabad; Vishnu Kartha, Executive Director, BATL; Rear Admiral (Retd) Mohapatra, Executive Director, BrahMos Production, Hyderabad and the BATL Workmen Welfare Committee members.
Sources confirm to Express that within a year, the complete building blocks for a Missile Integration Complex (MIC) will be in place. “BATL has taken the Air Force Complex land and Vishal Infrastructure Ltd (who undertook the Thiruvananthapuram airport work) has been entrusted with the mandate of completing the work on a war-footing. A total of 20,000 sq feet has been earmarked for the project, taken as part of BATL Phase-II expansion plans,”a senior defence official said.
The MIC will undertake the complete integration of BrahMos missile, sans warhead fixing and propellent filling jobs. “Once the dry integration is done at BATL, the missile can be taken to the adjacent airport and airlifted in special flights to Nagpur for warhead and propellent integration. There are plans to have a secure road-link to the runway,” sources said.
This will be the second MIC for BrahMos, with the first being already functional inside the Missile Complex in Hyderabad.
BATL gets new boss: Rear Admiral (Retd) Julius Zacharias is the new head of BATL and will assume office on February 1. His appointment as Managing Director was ratified by the BATL Board which met on January 27. With a spate of internal dissidence from a section of employees demanding the formation of trade union, the decision to elevate BATL's chief's post from ED to MD is an indication he getting more disciplinary powers. The Kerala government had recently exempted BATL from the ambit of Trade Unions Act. Zacharias was attached to BrahMos MIC in Hyderabad last year as an Officer on Special Duty. The current BATL chief Vishnu Kartha completes his four-year tenure this month end and will go back to his parent body – Indian Space Research Organisation.
(Copyright@The New Indian Express)