An Innovative Technology Makes a Country Stronger
Date: Tuesday , October 31, 2006
If you wish your country to be among the powerful nations then stronger technology has to be developed. Though Saudi Arabia has a per capita income higher than the U. S., it is not a global power because they have not improved on the technology front.
The success mantra for the U.S. is that it wants to be 10 years ahead of others in technology and five years ahead of Europe. Thatís what makes it powerful. One of the best indicators of technological advancement is the improvement in the aviation industry, especially the combat aircrafts. A country will use all its best resources to develop a stealth aircraft. After the development of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), India, which was 30 years behind in aviation technology, is now lagging behind by only a few years.
When LCA was conceived, only one percent believed that it would be a reality. When it took to the skies, only 50 percent believed it. Now India has joined this list. Those countries that produce fighters are in the forefront. If you are not in the game, you canít become powerful. A country cannot gain strength by merely buying or making them under license. We need to design, develop and make them in the country.
Aviation sector is not as attractive to the youth as IT. If we could get at least a sizeable portion of people into the Aviation sector, we could have progressed well. Aviation is a trendsetter and it uses advanced technology more than others. The real challenge for the Aviation sector is the use of multiple technologies wherein the limitations from various disciplines are taken into account while optimizing the total system and the next challenge is using these technologies for the benefit of mankind.
When the LCA project was conceived, we didnít have infrastructure, manpower, technology and investment. The people, who designed the projects, tested and certified the flights, were all new. About 300 small and medium scale industries participated in the LCA programme. We not only developed the aircraft but also the key technologies that made the aircraft. Today we have brought down the number of parts in the prototype to 7,000 from 10,000.
LCA is the smallest lightweight supersonic fighter with unstable configuration, fly by wire control system, all digital cockpit, health monitoring system and a host of other technologies. It has the highest percentage of composites compared to any fighter in the world. Its avionics system is based on cots components and open system architecture, thereby ensuring cost reduction and upgradability.
LCA technologies and equipment have been used in IJT aircraft. LCA navy is also in development, which would be the only single engine fighter with capability to take off and land on a carrier.
Innovation, Technology, product synthesis, systems engineering are the key concepts that will push the economy of the country in this century. Young managers must strive to be lead players in this journey and take risks. Risks are part and parcel of any technological development and without taking risks you cannot develop technology.
Based on a talk given by Padma Shri Dr. Kota Harinarayana, Raja Ramanna Fellow,
NAL & Former Program Director & Chief Designer of LCA.