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‘India needs higher defence preparedness in technology’

<b>With a widely varied assembly and production lines, thus contributing to a complex structure, how do you manage HAL?<br></b>Yes, HAL is a vast organisation with varied production lines. HAL as an aeronautics company has grown over the decades from being a licence production organisation to the present day vertically integrated design, development and production organisation. This cycle of organisational growth<br>has been achieved over decades of dedicated efforts, sustained R&amp;D, investment and vision. In order to meet the new challenges posed by changing market dynamics we have taken initiatives on<br>several fronts. We are now concentrating on modern technology based on production systems with high quality initiatives and in time deliveries. We have identified supply chain as critical area<br>and to this end strategies and processes related to procurement and resource management are constantly reviewed and improvements are brought out in the over-all supply chain preparedness of the company. We are also strengthening our teams involved in project management, customer relations, quality and vendor/supplier relationship. I am glad that our manufacturing programmes have streamlined now and we have initiated action to increase our capacity and capability.<br>These include modernisation of facilities across HAL in next five to 10 years, increasing percentage of outsourcing from current level of 25 per cent and establishing new production facility for emerging high tech projects.<br><br>HAL believes that the key differentiator in todays warfare is home grown platforms. In line with this<br>belief, we continue to give thrust on reseach and development (R&amp;D) by making increased funds allocation to the extent of around 10 per cent of our turnover. In last one year HAL has filed 174 patents – all across the technology spectrum. Being a strategic defence organisation, the company<br>intends to file more patents to protect its intellectual property developed at a large investment. All in all, I am confident that the diverse nature of the competence and strengths established at HAL in the field of aircraft manufacturing and related activities will help HAL register consistent performance<br>in the coming years too. <br><br><b>Your order books are full up, how do you plan to fulfil the customer (Indian Air Force) needs?<br></b>Defence Aerospace is typically an industry which has large gestation period and cycle times. Our order book is still much less in comparison to top defence aerospace companies of the world. In this business, 5-6 years of order line is a requirement for steady production and investments. Today we<br>are investing more than 10,000 crore plus in next five years for our further capacity augmentation. All this is being done because India needs higher defence preparedness and greater self reliance<br>in technology. All customers are important to us. The Indian Air force is prime among them. In order to ensure better services to all our customers we have engaged professionals and experts in the area of customer services as consultants to develop strategies. The top 50 HAL officials now pay yearly visits to customer bases for better communication, resolution of issues and re-assurance.<br>We organise safety and quality conferences, brain-storming sessions with customers to resolve field exploitation related issue. We would do all it takes to win customers confidence in our products, services and capabilities.<br><br><b>Now that LCA Tejas is close to completion as programme and full production to begin, what are your thoughts on it?<br></b>On the design and development front LCA is close to achieving initial operation clearance. HAL has<br>produced eight LCAs – Limited Series Production (LSP). I must tell you that as a production agency HAL is well prepared and geared up to undertake the project. We do not see any problem on<br>any front. We will share details of LCA programme with media at appropriate time.<br><br>You are soon tying up with Dassault of France for licence production of Rafale, how do you propose to allay fears about time and cost overruns? HAL and Dassault Aviation review the progress of various ongoing projects regularly. At this stage, all I can say is both of us are satisfied with the work already achieved by our integrated teams. We are committed to successful completion of the various projects.<br><br><b>When do you expect the MoD to provide you clearance for manufacturing HTT-40 trainer aircraft?<br></b>HAL has a mandate from MoD to develop this trainer and is working on the design and development of the HTT-40 within acceptable time lines. HAL would work towards enhancing indigenous design capabilities.<br><br><b>How do you envision the future of HAL till 2020?<br></b>HAL is keen to diversify into civil aircraft and the UAV/UCAVs segment which offer promising future<br>and efforts are being made to achieve these goals. We have drawn modernisation plans covering all ongoing and new projects. We have plans to add capacity to handle the important future programmes such as Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Civil Aviation Aircraft and Naval Multi Role Helicopter (NMRH). By the year 2020, we envision<br>HAL to be a Maharatna Public Sector Undertaking in India and one among the top 10 aerospace companies of the world catering to defence and civil aerospace needs of India as well as the rest of the world.<br>
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