Saturday, 28 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Air Marshall Tyagi (centre) with Dr D Banerjee (DRDO, CC Aerospace). Rohit Verma is next to Tyagi, while Gp Capt Tyagi flanks Banerjee.
This is the DRDO release, issued at 18:30 hours today:
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Search for Tejas engine nears its end: decision likely before March 2010, price will determine winner
Monday, 23 November 2009
IAF placing order for 2nd Tejas squadron: Dwindling MiG-21 numbers, growing China threat, speeds up Tejas induction
by Ajai Shukla
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Distribution of offsets
40% : Ordnance factories and DPSUs
33% : Large private industry
27% : Other private industry
2007 : Rs 243 crores
2008 : Rs 2598 crores
2009 : Rs 4870 crores
Friday, 20 November 2009
- Government must fund R&D and manufacture by private companies, like it has done for the DPSUs. “They (private sector) have to be part of the new structure. If you don’t give them finance, they won’t come up.”
- Assuring firm orders (or Minimum Order Quantity) to private companies, which will allow them to recover the money they spend in developing a product. “If they know they have to produce 1,000 of this, they will be willing to invest.”
- Removing government curbs on defence exports by the private sector, to allow them to recover investment costs. “Our own [defence] requirements are miniscule. If you don’t allow private companies to export, he will say, ‘you look after yourself, I’ll look after myself.’”
- Addressing “the CVC syndrome”, in which “anyone can file an FIR and everything comes on hold”. The IAF deputy declared that procurement processes must go on without disruptions by motivated allegations of corruption.
- Increase the Foreign Direct Investment limit, which is currently 26 per cent. “We have taken steps, but they are not bold enough. We have to be bolder, to invite more investment.”
- Fund R&D and manufacture by private sector
- Assured orders to recover investments
- Remove curbs on defence exports
- Minimise disruption of procurement
- Increase FDI limits from 26%
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Friday, 13 November 2009
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Photos: Above, a Su-30 cockpit display and, Right, the Samtel display which will be fitted on the first six Su-30MKIs next month
By Ajai Shukla
Samtel Display Systems, Ghaziabad
Business Standard, 12th Nov 09
The Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi-30MKI fighter is a beast that is tamed only by technology. The aircraft’s giant AL-31FP turbofan engines, which allow manoeuvres that no other fighter can dream of, are monitored by its pilots on high-tech computer screens called Multi-Function Displays, or MFDs. A quick glance across the MFDs also provides information about on-board weapons and sensors, telling the pilots everything about how the aircraft is flying and fighting.
These avionics --- or aviation electronics --- are the most expensive part of a fighter, usually about 35% of its overall cost. Superior avionics provide a combat edge, helping a pilot harness his engines, airframe, sensors and weapons towards victory in aerial duels.
This month, the Su-30MKI will reach a major avionics landmark when NCR-based Samtel Display Systems supplies indigenous MFDs for six Su-30MKIs.
So far French giant, Thales, has supplied MFDs for the Su-30MKIs, which are manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Nashik. Now Samtel Display Systems, a part of the Samtel Group, will supply these significantly cheaper than Thales.
Signalling its technological confidence, Samtel Display Systems has gone it alone in developing the Su-30MKI MFDs, despite having a JV with Thales. Starting with Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens, commercially procured from Japan and Korea, Samtel has ruggedised them for use in military avionics. The display must be easily readable even in bright sunlight; it must be dim enough for the pilot to read at night without losing night vision; it must work at minus 40 degrees Centigrade when conventional LCD screens get frozen solid; and it must absorb the repeated violent impacts of landing on aircraft carriers.
It has taken Samtel five years to develop the MFDs and have them certified as “airworthy”, a mandatory evaluation for all military aviation systems, conducted by the DRDO’s Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC).
This success could garner more. Samtel Display Systems has joined hands with HAL, the country’s premier aircraft manufacturer, to form Samtel HAL Display Systems (SHDS), India’s first public-private venture in defence avionics. SHDS aims to indigenise cockpit display systems across the range of aircraft being built by HAL.
But cracking this high-risk market is difficult, even with the main buyer --- HAL --- as a JV partner. In response to SHDS’s offer to supply displays for HAL’s Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) at a price significantly cheaper than the current foreign suppliers, HAL has said: first show us how you perform in supplying MFDs for the Su-30MKI.
Interestingly, Samtel has leaped into cutting edge avionics from a relatively low-tech springboard. In 1998 Samtel --- then a major supplier of Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) television displays --- blundered in moving towards plasma display technology, rather than the Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) displays that many rivals chose. With global TV manufacturing majors backing LCD screens, plasma has been relegated to a sideshow.
Currently, TV sales worldwide are 200 million a year. Of these, LCD TVs comprise 105 million pieces, plasma TVs a mere 8 million pieces and the balance are CRT based sets, which sell mainly in India and China because they are cheaper and can work on batteries. In the medium term and beyond, however, even CRT will dry up as a revenue stream.
But Samtel intends to be the last man standing in the CRT market, embracing a strategy of “obsolescence management”. As CRT production lines close down across the world, Samtel continues to manufacture the CRT displays that remain fitted on many weapons platforms worldwide.
When Sony closed down its Trinitron CRT line, its customer, US avionics major Honeywell, came to Samtel for CRT displays. A Samtel company in Ulm, Germany --- purchased from Thales --- produces monochrome CRT tubes for users across NATO militaries. And the Samtel Thales JV will now produce and support the Mirage-2000 video display cards, which was hitherto being done by Thales.
Samtel’s global strength in CRT comes from economy of scale and backward integration. It is the world’s only display company that manufactures its own glass. A Samtel group company in Rajasthan just buys sand for making glass for its display tubes. Even as CRT lines shut down across the world, Samtel’s CAGR remains 10-12%, despite lowering its CRT prices 15% annually.
Meanwhile Samtel Display Systems has launched an ambitious technological leapfrog into Organic Light Emitting Diodes, or OLEDs, next-generation displays that are far more visible than LCDs. So far available only in sizes below 2 inches, they are already being employed on mobile phone screens and gaming controls.
“The OLED is the future of avionics displays”, says Puneet Kaura, Executive Director, Samtel Display Systems. “We have established a Centre of Excellence in IIT Kanpur, where we develop OLEDs in partnership with IIT Kanpur and the Department of Science and Technology. Some 20-30% of R&D costs are borne by Samtel.”
(Part II: Regulatory hurdles hinder the transfer of technology)