Designing the right indigenous formula

Updated: Feb 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
The Indian designed trainer aircraft finally flew at the recent airshow in Bangalore to make history. And this year, the light combat aircraft (LCA) designed at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) almost stole the show.

India is often referred to as a land of contradictions and these contradictions exist in every sphere of life, be it sociological, scientific, educational or economic. In aerospace engineering too it is no different.

While India did shock the world with its ability to launch a space vehicle that could put into orbit satellites designed and made in India, it lagged behind in designing and building an aircraft on its own.

Whatever be the reasons for this shortcoming in aerospace engineering, that gap has now been filled by QuEST, a young company incorporated in New York by Indians.

Ajit Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of the company says, The company has worked on several big projects including the LCA. And India can now proudly claim to be part of the developed world that can completely design and manufacture an aircraft. The companys engineering capabilities were fully tested when it successfully put together the LCA scale model from design to manufacture.

As the CEO, Mr Prabhu provides the vision and strategic direction for the growth of QuEST. His main focus is to integrate global resources to provide the competitive edge to QuEST.

A seasoned entrepreneur, Mr Prabhu co-founded QuEST, in New York, with Aravind Melligeri in 1997 with the vision of developing expertise that ranges from concept to product realisation. His vision and ability has attracted the best talent globally and in a short span of seven years catapulted QuEST into a major design centre for aerospace, oil & gas, automotives, power generation and industrial products.

Our engineering expertise has been fully integrated across all product lines of aerospace, be it designing the fuselage and wings of the plane or working on designs for ground handling equipment. It is this ability to conceive, design, test and identify vendor sources globally from China to New York for manufacturing at the most cost-effective manner that put QuEST in a league of its own, Mr Prabhu explained.

Focus on innovation
As regards the companys strengths in the aerospace industry, said Mr Prabhu, Innovation is one of our key strengths, which, along with our global project execution, allows us to offer our customers solutions that are not only world class, but also considerably beneficial in terms of time and cost. Our people have years of experience in hands-on product development at some of the best product companies in the world, and the deep domain knowledge we possess is complemented by our rigorous Six Sigma approach to quality.

QuEST possesses world-class expertise in the aerospace domain, covering design & development, and manufacturing support services of components for civil and military aircraft. And we support our customers in the areas of product development, precision machining and manufacturing support services, through our vendors in strategically located countries to provide cost and quality, he added.

The company is Six Sigma trained and ISO certified with expertise that ranges from concept to product realisation services. And our clients spread across the globe expect QuEST to develop world-class products cost effectively, the CEO said.

QuEST, which was founded in 1997 in New York, currently has offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, India, China, Italy and Japan. As a global engineering solutions provider, QuEST employs over 700 engineers and supports a host of Fortune 500 clients with high-end solutions for improved product realisation.

QuEST, in a short span of its existence in India, has demonstrated its strengths in the aerospace domain in areas of design, analysis and development of composite structures, airframes, aero engines components, and accessories. QuEST has been working with aerospace organisations in the US, Europe and India such as Pratt & Whitney, ADA and GTRE to name a few.

Said Mr Prabhu, QuEST is justifiably proud of its technical expertise and capability. But we and our customers believe that QuESTs true strength is its ability to build and operate global teams.

We have created Global Engineering Centres for several of our customers. These centres are strategic, dedicated teams, with supporting infrastructure, that act as a virtual extension of our customers organisations. By working so closely with a customer, our staff becomes a well-trained, cost-effective, and productive pool of resources that the customer begins to think of as his own employees. And this is where the true collaboration and ultimate value comes from, he added.