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|August 19, 1998||
Abdul Kalam urges LCA scientists not to get disheartened
A P J Abdul Kalam, scientific advisor to the defence minister, today advised aeronautical scientists not to be frightened by the sanctions imposed by the United States and instead, strive hard to meet the deadline for inducting the multi-role Light Combat Aircraft into the air force.
Speaking after inaugurating a two day seminar on advances in aeronautics research, design and development, organised by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Bangalore, he said a national team was working to meet the challenges posed by the sanctions which were imposed following the Pokhran nuclear blasts.
Recalling that Indian scientists involved in the testing of the indigenously developed flight control systems in the United States were sent back, Dr Kalam said, "We are very close (in the development phase of LCA)" with two aircraft getting ready. Efforts will be made so that the Indian Air Force will receive the first LCA in 2003, after which at least 200 aircraft would be received by 2010."
Dr Kalam said the LCA's induction would enhance self-reliance in the armed forces by 20 per cent and enable the country to achieve the targeted 70 per cent self-reliance in the sector by 2005. Already about 50 per cent self-reliance in the defence sector had been achieved now following the development of missiles and electronic warfare systems besides main battle tanks, he added.
Dr Kalam said the induction of LCA into the air force would mean a business of Rs 300 billion. "What other things can the HAL dream of?" he asked and urged the organisation to put up in all efforts to make the LCA programme a success.
Speaking on the occasion, HAL chairman C G Krishnadas Nair said the seminar aimed at focussing on strategic areas of aeronautical research in not only developing and designing aircraft, but also in systems, accessories and equipment, besides ground handling materials.
He said HAL's research and design efforts had "declined and decayed" for several years following decisions by the higher-ups to go in for imported aircraft and licensed production. This had resulted in widening of the technological gap. The R and D bureau was being revamped and rejuvenated to meet the new challenges which included even development of passenger aircraft.
He said HAL would soon take up development of a new jet trainer (HJT-36) that would replace the existing Kiran (HJT-16) trainers. It would also go in for upgrades of MiG-BIS, MiG 27, and the Jaguar.
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