Aerospace, aeronautics techs are converging: Kalam

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Bangalore, Jan 19: Technologies in the field of aeronautics, space and missile are converging and this will lead to a cost effective high quality design, development and production of various types of aerospace systems, Former President APJ Abdul Kalam said here today.

Delivering the Air Chief Marshal L M Katre memorial lecture at HAL here, he said this convergence should lead to the Indian engineers develop of systems like 150 seater passenger jet, supersonic unmanned combat aircraft, hypersonic reusable missile, Hyper-plane and Planetary missions including manned missions for energy and water. India should come out with its own 15-seater passenger jet to cater to the exploding demand of the aviation sector which had a present estimated demand of 35 such aircraft, he said.

"The country has vast infrastructure and human aerospace sector. We have three lakh engineers and Rs 40,000 crore invested in this space. India can definitely launch such missions with international partnership," he said.

He said it was time a National Aeronautics Commission with a given mandate to design, develop and send the 150-seater passenger plane it soaring into the Indian skies. "When the Indian combat aircraft goes into squadron service and 150-seater aircraft flies in the sky, Air Chief Marshal Katre will definitely smile," he said.

The Air Chief Marshal, who died in service in 1985 was the former Chairman of HAL and a distinguished officer of the Indian Air Force. Lauding the efforts of HAL, Mr Kalam said the Advanced Light Helicopter productionised by the public sector aviation major would emerge as the workhorse of the Indian aviation in the coming years.

Sukhoi-30 MKI's avionics and MiG series of aircraft upgradation had demonstrated nation's capabilities to design advanced aircraft systems.

The all round capability of the HAL in design and development of airborne systems was adequate foundation to build on to develop our own 150-seater plane, he said.

Mr Kalam said the country should draft a National Aeronautics Policy for integrating the strengths of both civil and military aviation sectors to bring synergy in the aviation sector. Speaking on emerging technologies, he said Hypersonic reusable missile was an emerging area to achieve greater speeds using Ramjet and Scramjet engine. This type of missions would be highly useful for multiple applications like larger payload fraction.

At present, two to three per cent of take off weight as a payload in low earth orbit had been achieved world over. However India's Hyper plane aims to realise 15 per cent of payload fraction which can considerably reduce the launch cost, he said.

Beyond the year 2020, the aerospace world would enter into space industry. Space tourism, mining in planets and space habitats. Hypersonic reusable vehicles would offer cost effective transportation for space missions, he said.

Answering questions from audience, Mr Kalam said in the wake of the country facing problems in getting nuclear fuel for power sector, it was high time that India developed the technology to build reactors to process Thorium to be used as fuel.

"The nuclear fuel has remained a difficult thing to negotiate and we should look for something else. We have thorium in abundance and it is time we move to build reactors to process thorium as an alternative to uranium and plutonium," he said.


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