The Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) should design and develop landing gear for aircraft, V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister, said on Sunday.

He lamented that India, despite several technological developments, had no major centre for designing and developing landing gear, which would help not only aircraft but also unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). “This would be immensely helpful when we build our own commercial aircraft,” he added.

He was inaugurating three new facilities at the CVRDE, Avadi, – the combat vetronics technology centre, suspension test facility and CVRDE-Bharat Earth Mover Ltd (BEML) Technology Centre.

Terming it his dream, Mr. Saraswat wanted the CVRDE scientists to design the “lightest future main battle tank” (which is a project undertaken by the organisation). Besides, he counselled them to go in for designing a transmission system for battle tanks and hoped the BEML would be able to accelerate CVRDE's efforts in this regard. He also urged the BEML to help in developing the engine for the Arjun Main Battle Tank.

Mr. Saraswat, who is also the Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development and also the Director General, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), recalled how he recommended BEML as early as 1984 for development of a product designed by the DRDO. But it did not fructify. He was happy to note that it was happening after more than two decades.

Calling for greater collaboration between the DRDO and public sector undertakings, he said, “We (DRDO) make prototypes but do not convert them into products. With the collaboration of BEML there would be no such gaps. We need to graduate to design engineering and development. It would be a fantastic effort and add to our strength.”

While emphasising the need for “very strong electronic control system” for combat vehicles, he described “unmanned vehicles” as the “soldiers of the future”.

R. Sivakumar, Director, CVRDE, said the new combat vetronics technology centre would usher in state-of-the-art technology in armoured fighting vehicles. Besides, it would cater to developing vehicle electronic gun control system, fire control system and navigation system for the battle tanks to be developed by CVRDE. “No company in the world has a facility for testing the suspension systems of combat vehicles and hence it is a unique facility that is now available with the CVRDE.”

V.R.S. Natarajan, chairman-cum-managing director of BEML, said his organisation had decided to go after business like tanks and aerospace as they had immense potential.

The BEML was prepared to set up its own design and development centres in all the DRDO laboratories as the one inaugurated at CVDRE.

Mr. Saraswat also released a book on the Arjun Main Battle Tank written in Tamil by R.Ponnuraj, an employee of the CVRDE.

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