The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

March - 2003 - issue > Technology

Arming The Dangerous

Rahul Chandran
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Rahul Chandran
EIGHT YEARS OF R&D IN AIRCRAFT technologies finally paid off when a slim, fighter jet took to the skies. But even better, spin-off technologies from the development of the world's lightest combat aircraft are poised to fund further research in defense.

The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), India's first fully indigenous and the world's smallest combat aircraft. The machine graduated from a mere concept to a flying machine on January 4, 2002. When Wing Commander Rajiv Kothiyal, a test pilot of the Indian Air Force taxied and took off, pundits lauded the flight as “sheer poetry in motion.”

But, overshadowed by the euphoria over the first flight of the LCA, a revolution is quietly brewing. Some time in 2000, the Defense Research Development Organization, an umbrella organization that consists of 51 laboratories, decided to license spin off technologies—corollaries to the actual task of building the world's smallest combat aircraft. As a first step, the CAD software—Autolay—developed by scientists at the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the nodal agency for the LCA, was earmarked for licensing.

ADA announced that its flagship software product, Autolay, would be licensed to commercial aircraft maker Airbus Industrie for $3.2 million for use in its new commercial super jumbo project: A 380.

The contract was the culmination of a long-drawn and extensive benchmarking by Airbus Industrie to select composites software for the A380 project. The contract marked a first of sorts. At a time when governments around the world were being forced to cut down on defense expenditure, India was having its own defense R&D expenditure being subsidized by the sale of spin-off technologies.

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