India is "lazy" in developing intellectual property rights in the aerospace sector and will be at the mercy of foreign manufacturers if it does not work on indigenous technologies, a top Air Force official said today.
India is “lazy” in developing intellectual property rights in the aerospace sector and will be at the mercy of foreign manufacturers if it does not work on indigenous technologies, a top Air Force official said today. S B Deo, Vice Chief of the Air Force, said the newly launched strategic partnership model is a step forward in this direction. “India is lazy in developing. You have no choice, but to generate intellectual property rights here. If you don’t generate IPR, you are doomed to ‘built to print’ and you are at their mercy,” Deo said.
Under the built to print process, manufacturers have been making equipment or components as per the designs provided to them, which according to critics does not allow technology absorption and innovation in the country. Deo lamented the contradiction that India manufactures fighter jets helicopters, but has to import UAVs (Unmanned Ariel Vehicles). He was speaking at a conference on Energising Indian Aerospace Industry: Gathering Momentum by the Air Force, CII and Centre for Air Power Studies. “The quicker we dispense this built to print idea, the quicker we start generating IPR in India, the better it will be. The only way to sustain the momentum is to start manufacturing here,” he said.
Deo noted that creating IPR will open Indian companies a door to the outside world. Highlighting the problems in developing IPRs within the country, Deo pointed out that the expertise of retired Air Force officers in avionics is not used properly by the industry. Instead, they are hired by private defence agencies and used for “fixing appointments” in the defence ministry, he lamented. Under the SP model select private firms will be roped in to build military platforms like submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with foreign entities.
Air Marshal R Nambiar, the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, said through the Make in India programme, the Air Force is looking at creating an robust aerospace ecosystem in India. This, he stated, will offer opportunities for the private sector in a number of areas such as flight listing and associated infrastructure, production efficiency, technology absorption and indigenisation. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd Chairman and MD T Suvarnaraju highlighted that in the past years a series of steps have been taken by the government to make defence manufacturing economically viable in India.
The HAL this week has signed a Rs 6,100-crore contract to supply 41 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) to the Indian Army and one to the Navy.