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India has the technical skills to develop 150-seater aircraft: Dr APJ Kalam news
20 January 2008

Bangalore: Former president, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, outlined his vision for India's nascent aerospace industry when he delivered the second Air Chief Marshal LM Katre memorial lecture here at the HAL, under the aegis of the Aeronautical Society of India..

According to Dr Kalam, the country should design and produce an indigenous 150-seater commercial aircraft following the successes that it has registered in the aviation sector through the development of the Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

Towards this end, he asked the country's aerospace engineers to set their minds to the task.

Citing a study by a committee of experts on Vision 2020, the former president pointed out that there was large potential for aircraft production in India.

''There are more than 300,000 engineers and technicians empowered with infrastructure, built at a cost of more than Rs40,000 crore. With this national strength and opportunity for larger demand in aerospace systems and export potential, a large business for industries is in front of us.''

A National Aeronautics Policy, he said, could integrate the strengths of the civil and military aviation sectors to bring synergy in the sector.

Tracking the course of the aerospace industry over the last 40 years he said the country had ''progressed tremendously in space, missiles and multiple aircraft programmes.'' With the successful launch of the SLV-3 in July 1980, India has steadily progressed to operational capabilities with PSLV and GSLV for Remote Sensing and Communication satellites. ''India is self-reliant in space technology and can offer competitive launch service,'' he said.

In the course of his talk, Dr Kalam said, ''LCA has been successfully flight tested and is going to production phase. ALH is in production and is entering the export market. Advanced Satellite Launch Vehicles, such as PSLV and GSLV, are being made in the country. Strategic missiles with re-entry technology and supersonic cruise missiles are operational.'' He was referring to the missile programmes, Prithvi, Agni and the BrahMos.

Also, the National Aeronautics Ltd has flight-tested the 14-seater Saras. The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) is a unique multi-role, state-of-the-art, cost effective helicopter and will be a workhorse of the Indian aviation in the coming years, he said.

''DRDO's Lakshya and Nishant are unmanned aerial vehicles and are in production. Su-30MKI's avionics and the up-gradation of the MiG series of aircraft have demonstrated the nation's capabilities to design advanced aircraft systems.''

According to Dr Kalam, India has achieved core competencies in the design and development capability of aeronautical systems, and this all round capability of design and development of airborne systems is now an adequate foundation for the country to build on towards developing its own 150-seater passenger jet.

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India has the technical skills to develop 150-seater aircraft: Dr APJ Kalam