Nirbhay, India’s first long-range subsonic cruise missile that has already completed two test fires, will go through a low-altitude launch around April this year. An approval for production from the government would hopefully be sanctioned by the end of the year.
K Tamilmani, Director General (Aero), DRDO, on Wednesday gave an update of a slew of such initiatives that are currently being undertaken and those being considered in the development of a number of projects under the organisation. He was speaking at a press conference to announce the Aero India international seminar.
On the project of rotary UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), Tamilmani said that a number of steps had been taken to further develop this programme with HAL as well as the Indian Navy and made known plans of foreign collaboration.
“We have not been talking about this initiative for quite a while and nothing great has been done. Hopefully, we will start collaborations with foreign organisations for critical areas like landing on ships. We have initiated discussions with Lockheed Martin, Boeing and this will probably fall through in the next three or four years,” he said.
With regard to the development of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), Tamilmani highlighted the integration of certain fifth generation capabilities. “Fifth generation requires stealth, super cruise and thrust factor. All these three areas are being integrated into the AMCA.”
Noting that engines form a critical part in this integration plan, Tamilmani highlighted a plan to do so either through a “joint venture with the industry” or a “G2G (government to government) route” with countries like France or USA, who have themselves expressed an intention to be a part of the project. He said that the project was moving “forward towards a project definition stage” and that initial funding was already with the DRDO.
On the progress made in developing the naval variant of LCA MK2, he said that a primary design was more or less available and that would be out by the first quarter of this year.
6th pay commission
Replying to a question on high rate of attrition in DRDO, Tamilmani claimed that it was not the case especially with the sixth pay commission coming into force. “This year till December, up to 32 people resigned,” he said. DRDO has a staff around 25,600,” according to an official.