City firm makes first central fuselage for HAL’s aircraft

CMD of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited R. Madhavan with VEM Technologies chief V. Venkata Raju at the handing-over ceremony with LCA-Tejas fuselage in the background.   | Photo Credit: Arrangement

The first central fuselage for a supersonic plane made in the private sector for indigenous single engine fighter plane Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas by city-based VEM Technologies was handed over to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited here on Monday.

The carbon composite, stronger than steel, based fuselage is among eight contracted to be made by the firm involves fusion and precision of about 1,595 parts inspected at every stage before being assembled. It has also been approved by defence quality control authorities.

Five other firms are partnering in making the front and back portion of the fighter plane, avionics, landing gear, wings and the tail, said HAL chairman and managing director R. Madhavan and congratulated VEM Tech for doing an “excellent job as it was not easy and took almost five years in making including time lost due to COVID”.

“While HAL has been involved in every stage, it is not a small operation but very complicated one as it has match to other two sections plus ensure these are aligned correctly along with connections for fixing with wings and under-carriage,” he explained.

HAL is looking for more private sector participation in making full fledged structures in LCA-Tejas space and other defence related products. Aerospace eco-system sector still has a long way to go although outsourcing work began from 2011. “Right now, we are making eight aircraft a year and will double that number. We plan to make 24 aircraft a year for which we are setting up parallel production lines and will also be sourcing out more work to our partners,” he said.

The CMD expected the speed of making of structures to increase in a couple of years bringing in more efficiency into the systems. “We are looking at second and third level of outsourcing from partners to supply end products to us rather than we totally controlling the supply side. We want lead integrators so that we can do final assemblies and certification, of course the design should be with us,” said Mr. Krishnan.

The public sector giant is also looking at sectors like avionics where partners can come out with end units certified by themselves for use straight away rather than depend on foreign products. VEM Technologies chief V. Venkata Raju said the three-decade old firm with 1,300 staff, half of them into design, has been partnering with HAL for over two decades on all their major platforms. About 30 engineers and 20 technicians were trained in HAL for a year for this fuselage.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 10:46:51 AM |

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