In his last book Dr Kalam writes how challenges triggered innovation
Advantage India, From Challenge to Opportunity,' the last book co-authored by former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam and his one-time aide Srijan Pal Singh will hit the stands by November 2.
Currently available on pre-orders, the book is published by HarperCollins and is priced at Rs 299.
In an exclusive extract shared to OneIndia by the publisher, the book talks about the need for taking the challenges head on to propel the nation's growth.
The book shares an interesting story on Agni and how at a crucial juncture the scientists were denied facilities to test the missile model abroad.
When MTCR jolted the efforts of Indian scientists
"The missile model weighed a mere 20 kg and was easily transportable. We dispatched a seven-member team to Stuttgart to test the model in the hypersonic wind tunnel. We estimated that the test and result-gathering would be completed within four days of the team landing in Stuttgart. Time was critical to us and we were doing well till that point," writes Dr Kalam in the book.
He goes on to narrate that within hours of conducting the hypersonic test, the team had to abandon the plans owing to Germany ratifying the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
"The MTCR curtailed all forms of knowledge and technology transfer to upcoming missile nations like us. More specifically, the ‘ban' extended to all delivery systems which could deliver anything above 500 kg of payload over a distance of 300 km or more. Agni was well above these limits," says the book.
The dejected team returned to India not wanting to be at the mercy of the western nations. Their efforts to convince the German team too failed and the fate of Agni was left hanging with a bleak future staring on it.
Team started looking for answers within India
With the long-term goal of creating human and technology infrastructure within India's boundaries, the team started looking for answers within.
"We were confident of our progress so far on Agni. We knew the importance of having a long-range missile for the nation's strategic strength. We also knew India, and India alone, had to find a way out of this situation. Difficulty became a breeding ground for innovation," says the book.
With the help of Prof S R Deshpande, a pioneer in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, the Agni team began their mission again.
"We deputed 10 members of DRDL, Hyderabad, who along with Prof Deshpande formed a CFD team for our Agni project. Then we met another hurdle. When the CFD problem was formulated initially, the computational requirement needed very high processing powered computers. We neither had these mainframe computers in India nor the time to acquire them. We also knew that under MTCR no Western power would help us out here too," recalls the book.
Finally, the Prof Deshpande and the DRDL team evolved a ‘kinetic energy split methodology.'
Data from Prithvi trials came handy for Agni
"The problem which needed a very high computer time was elegantly solved using 1/10th of the computer time by suitably segmenting the algorithm. Moreover, nobody had till then tried to simulate hypersonic flight in India. We ourselves were not 100 per cent sure of the results.
Air behaves remarkably differently in higher orders of speed, and its behaviour is difficult to predict even on a computer. We needed to establish some credibility for the CFD results before we could rely on data from it to deploy our Agni missile system," says the book.
The book also narrates how the data saved from Prithvi trials came handy for Agni as well.
"Real flight data from the Prithvi missile proved to be a precious knowledge resource for Agni. We simulated the Prithvi flight path on the computer using the same algorithm, and obtained CFD results for it. We then compared these simulation results against the actual data for Prithvi. To our delight, the results matched-giving us confidence for the Agni CFD results," adds the book.
(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia and tweets @writetake.)