Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences and Vice-President, CSIR Dr Harsh Vardhan, has said that Aerospace and Defence have been identified to be at the heart of ‘Make in India’. Addressing scientists of National Aerospace Laboratories of CSIR on his visit to Bengaluru today, he urged them to work hard to make the Prime Minister’s ‘Make-in-India’ programme a success. He said with its more than five decade experience of providing indigenous technologies to these strategic sectors, CSIR-NAL is uniquely poised to underpin Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to raise the percentage of domestic procurement from 40% to 70% in next five years.
Dr Harsh Vardhan pointed out that Aerospace and Defence is globally, a very highly competitive area, defined by technology denial regimes and highly proprietary systems. Further, he remarked that aerospace is an area marked by large investment and long gestation periods but nevertheless it is imperative to develop streams of innovation that provide significant long-term payoffs in terms of import substitution as well as cutting-edge technologies.
He observed that it was this far-sightedness in supporting aerospace R&D with the establishment of CSIR-NAL in 1959 that resulted in its key technology successes for the strategic sector like carbon fibre composite airframe components and Fly-by-wire Flight Control systems for the Tejas light combat aircraft programme which were all denied under the technology control regime.
The Minister, who was accompanied by Dr M.O. Garg, Director-General, CSIR, and Shri Shyam Chetty Director, NAL, visited various laboratories in CSIR-NAL which included the Advanced Composites Division, Acoustic Test Facility (ATF), National Trisonic Aerodynamic Facility (NTAF), Micro Air Vehicle Aerodynamics Tunnel and the SARAS Flight Simulator.
At the ATF and NTAF, he recognised CSIR-NAL’s efforts towards India’s space programme, the latest being acoustic qualification of subsystems for GSLV-D5 and the aerodynamic characterisation of the LVM3 launcher.
Dr Harsh Vardhan complimented the scientists and staff on the numerous spin-off products developed including India’s largest Autoclave for Airworthy Composite Processing, the first indigenous transmissometer (DHRISTI) for measuring runway visibility, the first indigenous Electronic target (DHVANI) for the Indian Army, Active noise control, smart materials and surface modification. Such spinoffs demonstrated out-of-the-box thinking and were imperative for the Prime Minister’s ‘Make-in-India’ program he said.
Remarking on the need for inclusive innovation, he commended CSIR-NAL technologies that have significant societal impact such as solar selective coating for industrial and domestic solar water heaters, coatings to enhance tool wear resistance and wind–solar hybrid wind turbine system to power off grid remote areas.
He congratulated CSIR-NAL on its many laurels, the latest being the “Best Laboratory Award 2014”, from Brahmos Aerospace, for its breakthrough technology development and outstanding contributions. These awards were a testimonial to the sincerity and commitment of the scientists who persevered despite the well-known challenges in aerospace.
As the only aerospace laboratory in the civilian sector, he appreciated the efforts of CSIR-NAL towards civil aircraft development starting with the 2-seater HANSA in 2000, the 14-seater SARAS in 2004 and the 5-seater CNM-5 in 2011 which has the distinction of being the country’s first public-private partnership (with Mahindra Aerospace).
He emphasised the need for increased linkages with private industry that would enable quick commercial realisation of the developed technologies.He met with the representatives of private industry as well as various government organisations supported by CSIR-NAL and called for greater synergy towards meeting both strategic goals as well as spin-off civilian products.
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