January 20, 2008

INDIA: Potential for indigenous aircraft production: Kalam

— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Latha Katre presenting a memento to the former President, Abdul Kalam, after he delivered the Air Chief Marshal L. M. Katre memorial lecture in Bangalore on Saturday. HAL chairman Ashok K. Baweja is also seen.

Special Correspondent

Integrate aerospace technological and managerial strength in mission mode, he says

BANGALORE: The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, on Saturday gave wings to his vision of the future of the aerospace industry.

Giving the second Air Chief Marshal L.M. Katre memorial lecture here, Mr. Kalam said technologies in the fields of aeronautics, space and missile were converging. This would lead to a cost-effective, high-quality design, development and production of the various types of aerospace systems such as the 150-seater passenger jet, supersonic unmanned combat aircraft, hypersonic reusable missile, hyper-plane and planetary missions, including manned missions for energy and water.

The lecture was organised by the Aeronautical Society of India under the auspices of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Call to engineers

Mr. Kalam said that following the success in the aviation industry through Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the country should get into designing and producing an indigenous version of a 150-seater commercial aircraft. He called upon aerospace engineers to set their minds to this task.

Citing a study by a committee of experts on Vision 2020, the former President said there was a large potential for aircraft production in India.

The study had estimated that in the Indian market, there was a demand for around 60 of the 300-seater aircraft, 30 of the 200-seater aircraft, 70 of the 150-seater aircraft and 65 of the 100-seater aircraft.

What was needed was to integrate the aerospace technological and managerial strength in mission mode.
Business opportunity

“There are more than 300,000 engineers and technicians empowered with infrastructure built at a cost of more than Rs. 40,000 crore. With this national strength and opportunity for larger demand in aerospace systems and export potential, a large business for industries is in front of us.”

A National Aeronautics Policy could integrate the strengths of the civil and military aviation sectors to bring synergy in the sector.
Tributes to Katre

Mr. Kalam paid glowing tributes to the late L.M. Katre and said he was proud to give a lecture in the memory of a pioneer in the aerospace field in India.

Air Chief Marshal Katre belonged to a distinguished family from Mangalore in Karnataka. After an illustrious career in the Indian Air Force he held the post of HAL Chairman. It was under his leadership that the prestigious projects of the HAL, LCA and ALH, had begun. Air Marshal R. Ramamurthy and HAL Chairman Ashok K. Baweja were present.

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