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India plans supersonic jet trainer facility

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Mr G. Madhavan Nair (right), Chairman of the Space Commission, with the Vice-Admiral Raman Puri (left), Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, and Mr M. Natarajan, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, in Hyderabad on Sunday. - P.V. Sivakumar
Mr G. Madhavan Nair (right), Chairman of the Space Commission, with the Vice-Admiral Raman Puri (left), Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, and Mr M. Natarajan, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, in Hyderabad on Sunday. - P.V. Sivakumar

Our Bureau

Hyderabad, May 22

LEVERAGING the light combat aircraft (LCA) technology, India is now considering the possibility of developing its own supersonic jet trainer facility along with a multi-role medium range combat plane indigenously.

Mr M. Natarajan, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, said that this move on supersonic jet trainer and multi-mode combat aircraft was a logical extension of the LCA technology that India has developed. However, the matter has not yet been taken up with the three services arms and the Integrated Defence Committee.

Mr Natarajan was delivering a keynote address on a meet on `Emerging Technologies for Unmanned Air Vehicles' at Research Centre Imarat of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Representatives from various Defence establishments and scientists participated in the event, which was organised by the Aeronautical Society of India's Hyderabad chapter.

The event assumes importance with projections showing increasing potential for unmanned airborne vehicles for civilian, policing and Defence applications.

Indian experts have worked on a major part of the Rs 10,000-crore LCA project budget on development of the light combat aircraft, airborne early warning systems and the Kaveri Engine.

It is now under consideration to leverage the knowhow from such a large project and extend its applicability to design and development of advanced systems.

Given the vendor network and technology capabilities, it can facilitate designers to work on a supersonic jetliner along with a multi-role medium range combat aircraft.

India has taken a decision to acquire the advanced trainer jet, Hawk, from Britain, in an effort to upgrade the skills of Air Force pilots.

DRDO has also embarked on a major developmental programme to make India self-reliant in unmanned airborne vehicles.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 23, 2005)
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