Private industries to play key role in future DRDO projects: DRDO D-G
Bengaluru: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is keen to integrate the private industries as a production-cum-development partners for all futuristic programmes. DRDO has already initiated feasibility studies on some of the futuristic projects, which are to be taken up in a phased manner.
Speaking to Mathrubhumi’s Talkathon interview series, Dr K Tamilmani, Director-General (Aero), DRDO, said the design and development of many of the high-technology equipment will be handed over to the private industries.
He said the future design of various aeronautical projects like Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft and Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle will be modular in construction and these modules would be outsourced to the private industries for realisation.
Q: What are the new DRDO facilities coming up under Aero clusters in the next 10 years?
A: The Aeronautical Test Range facility at Chitradurga (Karnataka) is in the process of realisation. The Phase-I facility which will enable testing of all unmanned air vehicles will be ready by end 2016. DRDO proposes to augment the facility to cater for other platform testing such as AMCA, UCAV, Rotary UAV, Solar UAV among others.
The basic infrastructure for various facilities is almost complete. Equipping of hangar and ATC are currently in progress. The runway and taxiway will be ready for use by end of April 2016. We intend to make the range operational by September 2016.
DRDO also proposes to create engine test facility in Rajanakunte near Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru. Both projects involve investments over Rs 5000 crore.
Q: Your take on Tejas’ participation at the recent Bahrain air show.
A: Tejas flying at Bahrain International Air Show was something special for all of us. It really showcased the growth and maturity of Indian aeronautics. It sent clear message that ‘India has arrived’ in military aircraft technologies. The air show demonstration is likely to create keen interest on Tejas and few export opportunities will emerge soon.
Q: What is the update on Rustom programme?
A: Rustom-2 is in initial phase of check out including integration of Ground Control System with the aircraft. Taxi trials will commence during the first week of March 2016. The first flight is planned in April-May 2016.
Q: What is the update on Nirbhay programme?
A: The next launch of Nirbhay is scheduled in March/April 2016. Two more launches with different missions are planned during this year.
Q: What role will DRDO play in the aerospace and defence sector in future?
A: DRDO will mainly focus on technology development through basic research. The organisation will partner not only with the educational institutions, but also with lead industries specialising in high-tech areas. The success of future programmes at DRDO will depend on the partnership and support from the private industries.
By 2020-25 Tejas will continue production with many technological improvements and weapon carrying capability. AMCA and UCAV will complete development phase and enter into production. Rustom-2 also will be produced by 2020-25. Solar UAV development will be on hand during that period as well.