Bengaluru: India's aerospace and defence programmes are on a buoyant phase with renewed thrust coming from the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
This has given hopes not just for government-run organisations, but to the private and academic institutions as well, who are set to play a major role to make India self-reliant in the realm of A&D.
Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has been spearheading India's Light Combat Aircraft Tejas programme right from its inception with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the principal partner. Today, it has several national aeronautical programmes under its belt, including Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), Tejas Mk-II and the Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF).
All these new missions have given priceless opportunities to young engineers and designers within ADA and also those planning to get on board.
Freedom to Act
In an interview to Onmanorama, as a run-up to Aero India 2021, Dr Girish Deodhare, Programme Director Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) said youngsters have been given ample freedom to take independent decisions that would aid their missions.
"In terms of content I would say a lion's share of the aerodynamic design for LCA Tejas Mk-II, AMCA and now TEDBF are done by youngsters. The senior scientists are guiding these youngsters. Many new ideas come from these youngsters. Actual work and conceptualisation are being done by young teams in ADA. These youngsters are in the rage of 30-35 years with around seven years of experience in ADA," Dr Girish said.
Role of YSF
He said the Young Scientists Form (YSF) launched in 2018, too is playing its part to propel the spirits of newcomers joining ADA.
"The YSF was formed at ADA in May 2018 in response to government's initiative to encourage young scientists, wherein all young scientists below the age of 35 are encouraged to join to interact, carry out research and come out with innovative ideas for challenging cutting edge military technologies," Dr Girish said.
There are around 150 members in YSF now and has carried out numerous activities - aeromodelling and innovation idea contests - to bring out new perspectives to challenges faced by ADA.
"Even the DSI (diverterless supersonic inlet) and the canard designs involve mainly youngsters. They are the ones taking over the challenges. The seniors are just guiding them. It is important that the youngsters are ready to take over whenever senior scientists retire. And, these youngsters come from all over India, which is again inspiring," says Dr Girish, who has been mentoring the new kids on the block.
Today, ADA has around 40 per cent of its strength consists youngsters spread across different streams including structures, aerodynamics, controls to name a few.
These youngsters are selected through the Recruitment and Assessment Centre (RAC) board of DRDO.
ADA is set to recruit about 70 more scientists and with AMCA programme taking shape, the intake will be further enhanced significantly.
"The career is very exciting with many new programmes taking off. Even for the existing systems and inducted platforms of Indian Air Force, there are several upgrades that are taking place. And it will be a great opportunity for these youngsters to take part in several home-grown weapon development programmes," he said.
He said these are exciting times for aeronautics now and it has already become a sought-after-profession.
"Apart from DRDO, NAL, HAL, ADA and other government organisations, today even in the private industry there are several opportunities available for youngsters chasing their aeronautical dreams, unlike the case in the past," he added.
Dr Girish said that the quality of engineers entering specialised fields have improved many fold as compared to the past.
"Today we get people who are ready to take-off after the formal induction process. This was not the case before and we had difficulties when we had to retrain the new scientists. Now, the educational institutions have also realised what we need. The increased interaction with the academia also has helped," he added.
(The writer is an independent aerospace and defence journalist, who blogs at Tarmak007 and tweets @writetake.)