Man who tamed Typhoons and F-35s set to propel Indian talent

Written by: Dr Anantha Krishnan M
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Bengaluru, Dec 02: "India has young and inspiring aerospace talent. We are on a mission to help them connect together and provide wider exposure," says David M Lindley, Chairman, Aerospace Technical Professional Network, Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)  and leading aerospace safety expert, in an interview to OneIndia on Tuesday.

In Bengaluru for the IET Lord Austin Lecture 2015 on December 3, David, a veteran aerospace and defence expert from the United Kingdom, said that he would soon be approaching Indian schools and universities to spread his mission. He is scheduled to speak on: New manufacturing trends in aerospace.

David M Lindley

David was part of many high-profile military programme, including the Tornado mid-life upgrade, Joint Strike Fighter from concept to first flight, Chinook and Black Hawk helicopter in service sustainment, rivet joint conversation from KC135 tanker to surveillance platform, Wedgetail - civilian airframe conversion for military use and C130 special forces role conversion, to name a few.

Children should get hands-on experience

"It's important that we get the basics right from the school and college levels itself. We have already launched the Faraday India Programme in September this year on a pilot basis in 10 schools. This programme aims to create an ecosystem which encourages curiosity, questioning of the status quo among both students and teachers to fuel passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). We must give our children hands-on experience and teach them how and why things happen," says David, who had worked as a Senior Engineer Technician with the UK Royal Navy (Fleet Air Arm).

David says his current India trip is a fact-finding one aimed at buildings relationships.

"Aerospace industry world over is hit by lack of unskilled professionals. We need to make engineers into better brains. The only way out is through collaborations between the industry and the academia," says David.

Robust supply chain should emerge from Make in India

He says IET will be able to help India in skill development, prepare better syllabus for universities, technology transfer, exchange programmes and cater to future manpower demands.

"We have already started work in China. In April 2016, we are holding an event on the all-electric aircraft concept. Similar to India and China, we have Hong Kong and Singapore on our radar," he adds.

Terming ‘Make in India' as a right initiative, David hopes a robust supply chain is built using the opportunity.

LCA's good safety record can be a case in study

He says India's Light Combat Aircraft programme can be a case in study. "With no major incidents during its development stage means the platform has great safety standards," he says.

Finally, the 47-year-old man wearing many a hats, strongly feels that manned fighter programmes might soon be all over.

"Yes. It makes sense to invest in stealth and smart cockpit systems. Taking the man out of the cockpit increases performance and payload. Most importantly, we are saving lives as well," says David.

(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. Currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow with University of Mysore, he is a Consulting Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)

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