First squadron of LCA to be stationed in Sulur base: DRDO
Tiruchirapalli (TN), Sept 21, (PTI) The first squadron of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas would be located at Sulur Airbase near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, a Senior DRDO official said. Twenty LCAs would be stationed at Sulur in the first phase by early next year and as many aircraft would be added to the squadron subsequently and requisite facilities including hanger and runway were being put in place, DRDO Chief Controller (R&D) Dr W Selvamurthy said here yesterday. Similarly another fleet of 40 LCAs, designed by DRDO and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, would be stationed at an airbase near Dindigul in Tamil Nadu by the second half of next year, he told reporters. The Defence ministry had already attested initial operation clearance last year and LCA's Air and Naval variants had already been rolled out as mass production by HAL. He said DRDO was also planned to develop unmanned aerial vehicle in four versions and prototype models had already been made. The fifth version of Agni cruise missile with a 5,000 kms range was likely to be demonstrated by January next. Selvamurthy, who is also in-charge of international cooperation wing of DRDO, said several pacts were envisaged with countries like USA, UK, France, Israel and Belarus to develop Joint Ventures for production of ultra modern weapons and equipment for Defence purposes. He said an Indo-US joint technology group has been set up to develop foliage penetration radars and ground penetration radars which would help in anti-terrorist and anti-insurgency operations. A two-year time frame had been set to design and develop the related products. Earlier addressing the students of National Institute of Technology here, he said DRDO would recruit a minimum of 5,000 people, including 3,000 scientists, in the next six months. DRDO with over 50 laboratories across the country has a headcount of 30,000 including about 8,000 scientists. He said orders worth Rs 20,000 crores have been received for AKASH cruise missiles from different defence establishments in the world.