We survived strong moves to close Tejas project in 2007: Subramanyam

Written by: Dr Anantha Krishnan M

Bengaluru, June 30: Outgoing Director of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Programme Director (Combat Aircraft) P S Subramanyam says that there were massive efforts by a section to close the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas project in 2007.

The Distinguished Scientist and the man who spearheaded the project for the last 10 years, was speaking to this Correspondent, probably his last interview to the media as the Tejas boss.

We survived strong moves to close Tejas project in 2007: Subramanyam.
Subramanyam, retired from the services today after attending an official farewell organized by Team ADA at its Bengaluru facility near Old Airport Road.

The soft-spoken man hailing from Vijayawada, spearheaded the programme from 2005, after taking over the reins of ADA from M B Verma.

Also read: Hunt on to pick top brain to head India's Tejas programme

Subramanyam is the second largest serving chief of ADA (10 years), after Dr Kota Harinarayana, who had served the project for 16 years till 2002.

We bravely retrieved the project

"Yes, I can tell you that we had to wade through several pressures while taking this project forward. In 2007, the programme saw one of its worst periods. It was almost like to be or not to be. I can proudly say that we bravely retrieved the project and gave the shape it is in now," Subramanyam said.

We survived strong moves to close Tejas project in 2007: Subramanyam.
He said there were several meetings held virtually to close the programme. "I stood ground and gave the confidence to the government that it is a doable project and we will deliver it on time. The rest is history and we never looked back," he added.

Admitting that the ‘2007 project closer move' came as a jerk to the team, Subramanyam said neither he nor his team ran away scared.

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"Yes, we were shaken, but we knew we had a challenging task on hand. In the next two years (2007 to 2009) we demonstrated the capabilities of stores, sensors and weapon integration.

He also revealed that there were several occasions in the past that many wanted to merge ADA with some other organisations.

"So, while taking on the technology challenges of LCA, I has the head of ADA had to deal with other issues as well," he added.

FOC will be in by March 2016

He refused to name the people who were acting against Tejas project and ADA during 2007. "Names don't matter now as we have moved on. Let's focus on the current status of the project. Nothing can stop the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) completion now. By 2016 March, the FOC will be done," he said.

When asked about the most challenging task he had to undertake as the Tejas project chief, the NIT Warangal top brain said: "I had no command on any of the stakeholders in the programme, barring ADA. Yet, I managed to get the support of everyone, which is what I am proud of."

He said the media never had the correct appreciation of the time and cost of the programme.

"With Rs 7500 crore making 14 aircraft and establishing a production line, is far superior than the expenditure twice incurred in any other programme of the world," Subramanyam added.

(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)

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