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Defence services keen on tie-ups with academic institutions

Staff Reporter

CHENNAI: The Defence services is keen on more tie-ups with academic institutions to execute time-bound research projects in cutting-edge technologies, the Director of Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi, D. Hanumanna, said on Thursday.

Addressing a two-day national conference on recent trends in science and technology organised by Dr. M.G.R. Educational Research Institute Deemed University, Dr. Hanumanna said increased linkage with academic institutions could help in putting more emphasis on R and D, the role of which was expanding in an increasingly electronics-geared battleground.

The modern-day `electronic battleground' featured radars, sensors, virtual reality, nanotechnology, robotics, Global Positioning System, Geographical Information System and satellite-based broadband networks.

Budgetary allocation

Though the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) engaged more than 200 scientists the total spent on R and D was only around Rs. 30 crores a year, which amounted to hardly five per cent of the budgetary allocation.

The DRDO has a Contract Acquisition Research Services programme under which collaborative research ventures with academic institutions were pursued, he said. Some of the areas of joint research were virtual prototyping, network communications, logistics modelling and simulation.

The CVRDE had struck research partnership with institutions like the IIT, Madras and Anna University.

Technology showpiece

The Main Battle Tank, Arjun, which was designed and developed by CVRDE, exemplified harnessing of multiple technology streams, which morphed the conventional tank from a mechanical assembly into a technology showpiece.

A 124-strong fleet of these tanks was scheduled to be battle-ready by mid-2007, Dr. Hanumanna, who was the key scientist in the project, said.

The CVRDE was also involved in designing gearbox, filters and other assemblies for the Tejas Light Combat Vehicle, which at 5.5 tonnes was the lowest weighing aircraft in the world.

Call to students

The scientist advised students to join the R and D stream as the "capability of its R&D defined the strength of a nation."

R. M. Vasagam, Vice-Chancellor of the deemed university, G. C. Kothandan, Executive Director, and Bhavani Shankar, Dean, were among those who spoke.

Over 250 selected research papers will be presented over the two-day programme.

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