New DRDO Chief pushes emer­gency but­ton on Pro­ject Te­jas


The De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s DRDO new Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, Dr Av­inash Chan­der, has ac­ti­vated Code Red on Pro­ject Te­jas, and has called for an im­me­di­ate emer­gency plan to get the lum­ber­ing pro­gramme back on track. Top sources at DRDO and the Aero­nau­ti­cal De­vel­op­ment Agency in­formed SP’s M.A.I. that Dr Chan­der, over the last three days, has held video-con­fer­ence dis­cus­sions with all top sci­en­tists and vis­ited Ben­galuru for one-on-one meet­ings with the team lead­ing the sec­ond phase of the ini­tial op­er­a­tional clear­ance (IOC-2) mis­sion. Things have been dis­tinctly dif­fi­cult for the pro­gramme over the last two years. Fol­low­ing IOC-1 in Jan­uary 2011, it has been slow-mov­ing.

On May 29, two days be­fore Dr Chan­der took over as his sci­en­tific ad­vi­sor, De­fence Min­is­ter A.K. Antony de­clared that the Te­jas would, at all costs, be de­liv­ered to the IAF by the end of next year, fully cer­ti­fied and cleared by all agen­cies con­cerned. That one an­nounce­ment has put a huge amount of pres­sure on the new DRDO Chief, who is now un­der­stood to have put to­gether a team of eight per­sons, in­clud­ing two of his own ap­pointees, to over­see on lit­er­ally a day-to-day ba­sis func­tional progress on Pro­ject Te­jas, in­clud­ing all as­pects of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and com­pli­ance. Dr Chan­der, sources say, will re­ceive an of­fi­cial up­date ei­ther ver­bally or in re­port form ev­ery al­ter­nate day to keep him­self abreast of what he con­sid­ers to be the most cru­cial and press­ing pro­gramme in the DRDO pipe­line.

A top of­fi­cial of Dr Chan­der’s newly formed team in­formed SP’s M.A.I., “The other pro­grammes are pro­gress­ing sat­is­fac­to­rily. The light com­bat air­craft re­quires spe­cial at­ten­tion. It is for this rea­son that Dr Chan­der felt the need to al­lo­cate ad­di­tional re­sources to su­per­vise this fi­nal stretch of the pres­ti­gious pro­ject. We will be giv­ing it our all to de­liver a fine fighter to the cus­tomer.” Dr Chan­der’s team will sim­i­larly con­tinue and over­see the Te­jas Mk.2 pro­gramme once the Mk.2 fi­nal op­er­a­tional clear­ance is in the bag.

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