Bengaluru, March 09: American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin named the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Chennai and University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun as winners of a unique design challenge launched in 2014.
Lockheed Martin officials said on Wednesday that the two institutions have been awarded grants to develop prototypes of their modules and additional mentoring to develop a go-to-market strategy.
Launched in November 2014, the Lockheed Martin C-130J Roll-On/Roll-Off University Design Challenge provided research grants for each university team to work with local industry partners and mentors from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
"The idea was to develop design specifications for proposed modules that could be used on a Lockheed MartinC-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft. The Indian Air Force operates a fleet of five C-130J Super Hercules aircraft and is on contract to receive six more," says an official.
Help mature prototype for global markets
Now, Lockheed Martin will work with both winning teams to explore options with government and industry to mature the prototype for global markets.
Along with ITT Chennai and UPES, teams from ITT Delhi, Delhi Technological University and Birla Institute of Technological Studies Pilani (Goa Campus) participated in the design challenge.
During the launch in 2014, Dr Ray O. Johnson, Lockheed Martin's Senior Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer had said that the challenges being faced by the global community were increasingly complex, and wanted the best and brightest to work together to develop global solutions.
"Perhaps more important than producing viable prototypes from this design challenge are the lessons in innovation and collaboration the students will gain from working hands-on with partners in government and industry," Dr Ray had said.
Design packages easy to install, remove
Officials say that the roll-on/roll-off mission capability packages designed by the students can be installed on to a C-130J and later removed, within 30 minutes.
When specialised mission capabilities are not required, the mission systems pallet can be removed, and the C-130J re-tasked as a medium range cargo aircraft for either military or humanitarian operations.
"The proposed capabilities presented by the winning teams in this competition are expected to increase efficiency and effectiveness of future disaster relief operations supported by C-130J aircraft," says a Company official.
According to Abhay Paranjape, Director, Air Mobility Business Development for India, Lockheed Martin, the responses from the universities for the C-130J roll-on/roll-off concept challenge were encouraging.
"We are committed to working with the teams to enhance their initial concepts further and bring them to maturity in the global marketplace," says Abhay.
"All of the teams participating in this programme provided unique insight and unmatched enthusiasm for expanding the C-130's already robust capabilities. There is a very real need for the solutions proposed by these teams in India and around the world," he added.
As a part of its larger commitment to enhance the growth and development of India's innovation and entrepreneurial pursuits.
Since 2007, Lockheed Martin has been successfully running the India Innovation Growth Programme in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Stanford Graduate School of Business and the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas.