The product design work of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft has been started by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the vehicle is expected to be ready in 2018, Dr Tamilmani, Director General (Aeronautical Systems) DRDO, Bangalore has said.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the three-day international meet on ‘Product Life Cycle, Modelling, Simulation and Synthesis (PLMSS) at VIT university on Monday,’ he said the aircraft would be equipped with twin engines with super cruise power and for the first time it would be using the stealth technology to ‘hide’ from radar surveillance.
The work on the design of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) that began nearly 20 years back had culminated in developing vehicles using indigenous technology and the first batch of 40 such aircraft would be ready for defence utilization by the year 2017. The Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) would manufacture four vehicles this year, eight by next year and sixteen each in the following two years, Tamilmani added. With the advent of communication and automation technology, system engineering and other tools, the message to the world community is: ‘India can build new-state-of-art aerospace technology products and is ready for competition.’ Tamilmani said each of the LCA would be built at an estimated cost of `200 crore and these aircraft would be subjected to around 14,000 failure simulation conditions, to test the efficacy of the technology before they were deployed for the army. The ground work on designing the aircraft was started in the year 1993 and the prototype would be ready in the next five years. “We had to build the technology all by ourselves from scratch as no agency was willing to share the technology. Even though we have taken a little more time to develop the technology, we have now laid a strong foundation in this field,” he noted.
While 30 to 40 per cent of the product development time was consumed for developing design and testing, 50 to 60 per cent of the time had to be spent on quality certification, which was very stringent. Around seven lakh plus test points have to be checked in the aircraft for the certification, Tamilmani added further.
“We are slowly making policy changes in the production of civil aircraft also. The government has allowed to manufacture 70 to 100-seater aircraft in the next five years,” he said. The private sector would be involved in a big way, to work with the National Aerospace Laboratories and the HAL. Many countries were presently using the platform of aeronautics to propel new technologies, using the concepts of PLMSS, without the support of which it would be difficult to design combat and civilian aircraft, Tamilmani pointed out.