Dec 1, 2010
FUNDING & POLICY
NEW DELHI — Indian military leaders are calling for the creation of an agency similar to the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to develop new military technology.
“This indicates the realization of a ‘futuristic element’” in Indian technology development planning, said a delegate at the National Seminar on Aerospace Technologies (N-Sat) held here Nov. 24-25. “The Indian air force, for instance, is looking at sensors and weapons packages beyond the Su-30MKIs and Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft.
"We have been guilty in the past of not looking at strategy,” says former air chief S.P. Tyagi. “There is a direct link between technology and economic growth. In India, we have a very long way to go for both R&D and manufacturing.”
With security issues threatening progress, the military needs to develop all of its capabilities, Air Chief Marshall P.V. Naik says. “It is important to safeguard national information with mission flexibility,” he adds.
While India is considering an Advanced Medium Combat aircraft, aerostats, a fifth-generation fighter and the integration of radars for surveillance, the challenge is to bridge the gap in R&D, look at how to absorb assets in the transfer of technology and expand defense offsets, Naik says.
“A national aerospace policy is long overdue. Unless you have it, industrial development is not possible,” Air Vice Marshal M. Matheswaran says. “A military strategy recognizes the centrality of aerospace power.”
While Eurofighter has started an initiative for fighter parts in India, “setting up logistics support systems needs a reliable partner to keep cost of ownership low,” says EADS Cassidian’s vice president for industrialization in India, Rudolf Hisserich.
- Neelam Mathews