LCA Tejas is a game changer for aerospace industry: Shri Rajnath Singh

Ministry of Defence is working on the details of indigenous manufacturing of aero-engines to provide a new fillip to the aerospace sector and achieve complete self-reliance. This was stated by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh during his inaugural address at a seminar titled ‘Indigenous Development of ‘Futuristic Aerospace Technologies including Way Forward for Development of Indigenous Aero Engines’, organised by Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of 14th Aero India in Bengaluru on February 14, 2023.

Shri Rajnath Singh stated that after completing 75 years of independence, India is entering ‘Amrit Kaal’ and it is time to ensure that Indian aircraft fly with indigenously-made engines. He stressed on the need to focus on indigenous design & development of essential weapon systems using niche technologies like Artificial Intelligence, drones, stealth, hypersonic and quantum computing. He exuded confidence that the DRDO, with its capability and dedication, will soon make quick progress in that direction and add to the list of its achievements that include ‘Prithvi’, ‘Akash’ and ‘Agni’ missiles.

The Raksha Mantri also exhorted the DRDO to encourage start-ups and new R&D establishments to develop incremental innovations, minor sub-systems and their technologies through schemes like Technology Development Fund and Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX). “DRDO is no longer just a service provider for defence R&D. It is now also a facilitator for in-house industrial R&D, start-ups and private sector labs. There is a need to take advantage of this synergy,” he said.

Shri Rajnath Singh urged the DRDO to set short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and work to build disruptive, cutting-edge or frontier technologies. While we are progressing towards becoming one of the strongest countries in the world, we should have strong support of next level Armed Forces capable of facing any new challenge, he said.

The Raksha Mantri highlighted the significant efforts being made towards the progress of defence R&D in the country, saying that the DRDO is the flag-bearer of that vision. He described the scientists, engineers and technicians of DRDO as behind-the-scenes heroes who design, develop and manufacture weapons & technologies and provide them to the soldiers posted at the borders.

Shri Rajnath Singh commended the DRDO for continuously making headways in defence and aerospace sector through research & innovation and strengthening national security through design & development of equipment ranging from ammunition to guns, radar systems and missiles. He enumerated some of the notable, including helicopters, weapon systems like TAPAS, Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system, Medium Range Artillery Gun and radars. He stated the world is recognising these achievements, with many countries importing defence equipment from India and many more in the process of acquiring the weapon systems.

The Raksha Mantri termed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas as a game changer for the aerospace industry. “A highly-capable aerial platform, LCA Tejas has a commendable record in flight safety which speaks volumes about its quality. Based on its success, the government has now approved LCA-Mk II for the Indian Air Force, while the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter is under consideration for the Indian Navy. We have also started moving forward in the path of design and manufacturing of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft in the form of 5th generation stealth aircraft. Whether it is water, land or sky, DRDO has always been at the forefront in strengthening the security infrastructure,” he said.

During the seminar, organised by DRDO’s Aeronautical Research and Development Board (AR&DB), the Raksha Mantri handed over the Health Usage & Monitoring System for MIG29K developed through Technology Development Fund (TDF) to Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Satish Namdeo Ghormade. The DRDO in association with Smart Machines and Structures, Hyderabad under the TDF scheme has indigenously developed the Health Usage Monitoring System for the MiG29K with Technical handholding of DRDO and Users. This solution uses machine learning and data analytics on Flight Data Recorder data to help Indian Navy enhance the serviceability of the aircraft by predicting failure before they occur.

Shri Rajnath Singh also launched AR&DB web portal, (System for Advance Manufacturing Assessment & Rating). SAMAR is the benchmark to measure the competency of defence manufacturing enterprises. SAMAR is an outcome of the collaboration between DRDO and Quality Council of India (QCI) to strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem in the country.

The DRDO has equipped industries with the latest defence technologies by signing the Licensing Agreement for Transfer of Technology (ToT) of several critical systems. It handed over 18 ToT agreements to 18 Indian Industries for transfer of 12 technologies developed by 10 DRDO laboratories.

Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr Samir V Kamat handed over 12 technologies to Industries. The technologies handed over to Indian Industries pertain to Multi-Channel Laser DEW for 10kW/2km  range Hard kill system, Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESAR) – Uttam, Air Defence Fire Control Radar (ADFCR) – Atulya, NAYAN COMINT System, Unified Mission Computer, Software for outdoor Perimeter System (STOPS), LAND Inertial Navigation System (LAND-INS) for Land based Application, Ceramics Radomes Technology, Trawl Assembly for T-72/T-90 Tanks, Weapon Tracking System (WTS), Linear Thermal Detector and CBRN Water Purification System (WPS) Mk II. The ToT of these DRDO developed technologies will further strengthen the manufacturing eco-system in the country in the area of defence systems and platforms. So far, DRDO has entered into more than 1,500 ToT agreements with Indian Industries.

A DRDO Monograph titled Non-Destructive Evaluation of Solid Rockets and Missile System and AR&DB’s magazine was also released. Handing Over of CEMILAC certificate for CVRDE developed aircraft bearings for Aircraft Mounted Accessories Gear Box (AMAGB) of Tejas was also carried out. Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan and Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri Dr G Satheesh Reddy were also present on the occasion.