news Sunday, July 19, 2015 - 05:30
In what comes as the first move of its kind for the industry in India, the Ministry of Defence has cleared the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) proposal for a transfer of technology that would allow private player, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) to commercially manufacture an aircraft. According to a report in The Indian Express, the aircraft to be produced by L&T is the pilotless target aircraft Lakshya. The report adds that L&T will pay a royalty to the DRDO for every aircraft manufactured by them. Prospective customers for the pilotless plane reportedly include the likes of Israel, Singapore and Malaysia. The aircraft is a reusable subsonic aerial target system which was developed in Bengaluru and was inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2000. The report mentions that the impending association with L&T will be the first of its kind for defence technology, as earlier only PSUs were nominated for production, but with little incentive. Sources in the industry further told the newspaper that L&T would collaborate with DRDO to build a Lakshya 2, which would be an advanced version of the aircraft. “This will allow the industry to do what DRDO currently does what it should not really do, i.e., upgradation of a system. We will do the hand-holding. But a private manufacturer with access to base technology can easily develop a newer version, a Mark II for a platform,” a DRDO official told the newspaper.