Features Friday, July 18, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute| July 18, 2014| 8.00 pm IST Atleast 10 key projects of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have been delayed, largely due to the challenges of technology, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley informed the Lok Sabha Friday. These include a variant of the light combat aircraft(LCA) and its Kaveri engine, as as also several missile projectss, said in a written reply. The Tejas LCA Mk-II has been delayed due to "re-designing of composite wings, change in build standards and aircraft fabrication and technology denial by advanced countries". Lack of skilled manpower and infrastructure was also cited among the reasons for the delay. The original probable date of completion of the aircraft was December 2008 and was revised to March 2015. The electronic warfare suite for the Tejas aircraft was delayed because of a "change in development approach". The LCA's Kaveri engine has been delayed because of "technology difficulties faced during development due to complexities of engine system, non-availability of raw material and lack of test facilities". The LCA for the Indian Navy, originally to be completed March 2010 is now likely to be completed by December. The reasons for the delay: the country was attempting the design and development of a carrier-borne aircraft for the first time and the technology challenges have been significantly higher than anticipated. The missiles delayed include a long-range surface-to-air missile, a third generation anti-tank guided missile and an air-to-air missile. Other projects include Airborne Early Warning and Control System, Dual Colour Missile Approach Warning System for Fighter Aircraft and Advanced Light Weight Torpedo. Jaitley, however, said the general impression that DRDO is lagging behind and that government is not providing enough support "may not be very accurate". "It would not be fair to say that the functioning of the DRDO has been, in any way, curtailed on account of paucity of funds. Our scientific community in the DRDO has been doing exceedingly well and, that is why, India is, today, in the select group of nations which has several capabilities which most countries in the world do not have," Jaitley said while replying to supplementaries. "As far as delays are concerned, I think the absolute delay may be a little bit of a misnomer. Where there is a large programme, the delay refers to the conclusion of the programme. The delay does not mean that nothing has been done," he said. The DRDO is India's prime defence research organisation, working towards enhancing self-reliance in defence systems and production. With IANS
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