Aircraft failure prognosis key area of technology development, says Harinarayana

Hindustan Aeronautics will soon roll out India’s Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, LCA architect and D.S. Kothari Chair at Aeronautical Development Agency, Bangalore, Kota Harinarayana has said.

This year HAL will make two aircraft and will progressively increase the number, he said. Tejas will be used for training and simulation based on the inputs of pilots for further improvements.

Dr. Harinarayana was here to deliver the Dr.V. Bhujanga Rao Endowment Lecture at GITAM University on Thursday.

In an interaction with The Hindu later, he said the next step would be developing a more powerful engine G 414 that will power the second variant Tejas Mark II. It may take another four, five years for its development and launch.

Dr. Harinarayana puts India on a par with Europe in aviation research and technology development. “We are definitely ahead of China which still does not have fourth generation aircraft. It is also putting in lot of money into technology development. But we are behind the USA that mastered Stealth technology and we are still working on it,” he observed.

Lot of effort is also going on to develop next generation manned and unmanned aerial aircraft and increasing their operational availability and potential to sell. Rustom-II, the unmanned reconnaissance aircraft with huge wing span, is likely to be launched this year, he says. The principal designer Aircraft Development Establishment is working on the project.

“Our interest is developing technology for onboard management of aircraft. This is called prognosis in which before a major failure occurs onboard sensors and algorithms continuously monitoring the system indicate when a component is likely to fail. It will give us the remaining useful life (RUL) of the craft. It will give that much of time to rectify it,” Dr. Harinarayana said.

Boeing has online diagnosis and is ready to join hands with us on prognosis, says Dr. Harinarayana.

It has recently sanctioned a grant to Cranfield University in the UK for integrated vehicle health management research. He sees big advantages in aircraft maintenance once vehicle health management systems advance.

India happening country

Dr. Harinarayana sees the country as a happening place with action, market and challenges for youth. By developing technology youth can gain for themselves, contribute to society. But they should be ready to innovate and take risks.

The younger generation of engineers should go for post-graduation and research using the degree in disciplines like mechanical, civil, electrical and electronics and go for technology development and business.

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