The Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) new boss Dr 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 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, are 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 Advisor to Defence Minister.
He said the induction of India’s long-range ballistic missile Agni-V and development of 155-mm gun are other projects that would get his immediate attention.
Saying that his task is cut out with many projects reeling under time overruns, Avinash promised to turn around DRDO into a delivery-oriented unit.
“There are grey areas still, despite our efforts to stick to the deadline. We are lagging behind in directive energy systems such as high-energy electro-magnetic lasers. We also need to gear up on the materials front,” said the missile scientist.
We have proven our abilities with multiple missile programmes and we need to emulate the same in other projects as well,” said the 62-and-a-half-year-old DRDO chief.
He said DRDO will 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,” he said
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 former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, who will serve as the DRDO chief beyond 65 years.