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Kalam for updating aeronautical policy

By Our Staff Reporter

KOLKATA JAN. 21. The President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, today stressed the need to update the national aeronautical policy integrating civil and military aviation facilities with an aim to develop 100-seater jets for civil aviation and unmanned supersonic long-range aircraft, better known as `Hyper Plane.'

He suggested a multi-country partnership research for the same.

Addressing the 54th annual general meeting of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), the President said that updation of the current aeronautical policy, presented before the Government in 1994, when he was president of the society, was long over due as India, in the meantime, had progressed substantially in aeronautical research. "Evolve the policy. Submit it to the Government. I am there to help you.''

On the need to space out India's technological achievements in related fields for mass use, he asked why a natural phenomenon, such as fog, should still be allowed to cause major disturbance to air traffic. "Do not let fog be the pilot of your plane,'' he told the aviation industry and asked them to find ways to tackle it immediately.

Our space research had led to development of satellite vehicles.

Indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) prototypes had already been rolled out. Fourteen-seater SARAS prototypes were due to be rolled out in February.

Even then, we were spending billions of dollars on buying passenger jets from abroad.

The President said to expand air services, the country required jets of 100-seat capacity more than the larger ones now in use.

There is no reason why it cannot be developed indigenously, he said.

Referring to the `Hyper Plane', he said that unmanned supersonic aircraft with three to four times higher payloads would hold the future of the aeronautic industry. India had done peripheral research in these fields.

Later briefing presspersons, the president of AeSI, Kota Harinarayana, said that the society had been working on the aeronautic policy which would be submitted to the Government before December 2003.

Stating that the policy would focus on low fare, high frequency passenger traffic, Dr. Harinarayana said that to this effect the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Illusion Design of Russia were conducting a systematic design study of a 120-seater aircraft.

The project was co-financed by governments of both the countries. It aimed at rolling out the first prototype by 2006 provided funds for the study were tied up.

While developments in fighter aircraft research would help in developing the 120-seater planes, expected to be used in both feeder and metro routes for increasing the frequency, the defence sector would benefit, as it would have to replace its six-tonne AN-32 with 15-tonne planes.

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