The Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) new boss Avinash Chander has put India’s fighter jet project ‘Tejas’ on his radar, with a possible mission to jettison it out of the current turbulence.
In an interview to Express on Friday, soon after New Delhi officially handed over him the mandate to pilot DRDO for the next three years, Avinash said that completing the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) of Tejas by September this year and attaining the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by the end of 2014 were two primary targets he has already set.
“After finishing the taking over formalities, I am catching the first available flight to Bangalore to review the project. I am absolutely aware of the issues that are dogging the project and I would now want to see it from close quarters what the delays are. The Tejas’ IOC and FOC cannot be postponed any further,” said Avinash, who will also double up as the Scientific Adviser to the Union Defence Minister. He said the induction of India’s long-range ballistic missile Agni-V and development of 155-mm gun were other projects that would get his immediate attention.
Saying that his task was cut out with many projects reeling under time overruns, Avinash promised to turn around DRDO into a delivery-oriented unit.
He said the DRDO would be restructured to catch up with the challenges of modern times. “I will take everything one step at a time. I am aware that we need to create the ‘Brand DRDO’ image. It will be a collective team effort. The idea is to take DRDO to the next level. I will ensure that the confidence of users in DRDO will be always high,” Avinash said.
Incidentally, Avinash will be the second man after Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, who will serve as the DRDO chief beyond 65 years.