By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Hyderabad: Hit by the guided and unguided ‘missiles’ often fired by the media, Services and the government for not delivering products on time, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Dr V K Saraswat on Saturday asked Indian aerospace industries to adopt today’s science, to absorb tomorrow’s technology. He was speaking at the inaugural session of the International Conference and Exhibition on Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA), organised by the Aeronautical Society of India, Hyderabad Chapter, at the sprawling Taramati Baradari, near Golconda Fort in Hyderabad.
Sighting examples of the recent hiccups in the LR-SAM (Long Range-Surface to Air Missile) and MR-SAM (Medium Range-Surface to Air Missile) programmes, Saraswat asked the defence fraternity to share their strengths. “We ran into problems with propulsion system, especially in areas of combustion and stability of LR-SAM and MR-SAM, being jointly developed with Israeli Aerospace Industries. Understanding these technologies and development of propulsion systems can be done in a better way, if the academic institutions, private industries, space agencies, DRDO, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and others join hands,” he said.
Not mincing any words on HAL, Saraswat said that the company must augment the production facilities for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) -- Tejas. “Today HAL has 3rd generation production lines and we need modern ones to replace it. Tejas is a 4th generation aircraft and if have the vision of exporting this aircraft one day, then rolling out quality aircraft is the key. The problems Tejas faced are all related to auxiliary systems, be it the fuels lines or lightening arrester. Tejas Mk-II will be the future mainstay and we need to address quality concerns at the earliest,” Saraswat said.
Next on the DRDO chief’s radar was Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), which is the workhorse production centre for various missiles in India. “Even BDL must upgrade missile integration facilities. We have today Rs 30,000 crores of Akash missile production. We are expecting more orders. One BDL is just not enough to meet our demands,” he said.
With a total missile production order worth around Rs 90,000 crore, the DRDO chief said that Indian defence sector can’t keep quiet. “We need to change and raise the level of performance. We cannot continue in the same manner as far the defence equipment goes. We should not treat private industry as outsiders; instead we should bring them together,” he said.
He said new programmes worth 80,000 cr are under various stages of development in DRDO, including underwater systems, Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), Anti-Radiation Missile and Ballistic Missile (BMD). “As a nation, we need more patterns in design. We need an agency that take everything at one go. Today, we have a poor design base with us and we need to look at it seriously. There are many gaps in engine technology, including in the field of materials. We don’t have a facility to test, evaluate and integrate engines. If this tendency continues, we will continue to import engines,” Saraswat said.
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