Beg, borrow or steal: IAF chief to scientists

"Beg, borrow or steal", was the advice IAF chief, Air Chief Norman Anil Kumar Browne, had for defence scientists.

New Delhi: "Beg, borrow or steal", was the advice the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Norman Anil Kumar Browne, had for defence scientists Wednesday for developing critical technologies for the armed forces.

Browne, who was delivering a lecture at an aerospace seminar organised by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) here, was attempting to impress upon the defence scientists the need to develop an engine for indigenous fighter aircraft that has not happened for almost three decades.

"You may have to beg, borrow or steal. But you have to do it," Browne said to stress that there was an urgency in locally developing the indigenous aeroengine if India has to strengthen it defence capabilities.
India had tasked its Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) 22 years ago to develop an indigenous engine and till date has sanctioned a budget of Rs.2,893 crore (over $500 million) for its development.

Yet, the Kaveri engine programme, envisaged as the aeroengine for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is still to fructify and the LCA is fitted with the American GE engine.

"This (aeroengine) is an area where we need to focus. This is one of the core technologies required by the nation," he emphasised.
The Kaveri engine was a couple of months ago tried out on a Russian Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft test bed. It will go through further trials before being integrated on any military aircraft.

Another key technology that Browne highlighted as an critical need for the IAF was the latest Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which he wanted Indian defence scientists to develop indigenously.

India`s planned acquisition of 126 combat jets for which the tender is likely to be finalised this fiscal will come with AESA radars of European origin.

Browne said development of the AESA radar indigenously would give better intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for the IAF`s planes and the commanders alike.

These capabilities and technologies were needed, he said, as IAF`s area of responsibility was now not confined within the land boundaries of India, but expanded way beyond the Indian Ocean region.


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