Robots help fighter Jets take off

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Neil, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2010
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    BANGALORE: In a small factory tucked away in Peenya, a dusty industrial suburb of Bangalore, a master-robot is busy rehearsing giving commands to a 'slave-robot' to integrate complex engine components of Sukhoi aircraft, a multi-role fighter jet. The slave-robot obediently follows the commands in a welding chamber with no oxygen within. This is the first of its kind facility built in India by Bangalore-based Hind High Vacuum Company (HHV) for defence major Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).

    "Sometimes these are engineering nightmares, which we engineers look at as our pleasant dreams," said Nagarjun Sakhamuri, managing director of HHV. The robot repeats motions with a precision accuracy of a few thousandths of an inch 24 hours a day in an inert atmosphere, which is beyond human physical capabilities. Every aspect of the process, trends, and diagnostics is recorded by a computer in real-time. The facility will be shipped off to the engine division of HAL at Koraput district in Orissa. HAL has jointly developed a version of Sukhoi in collaboration with Russia.

    HHV won the contract, after India decided to make their own engines for the Sukhoi aircraft instead of buying them from Russia. This aircraft is expected to form the backbone of the Indian Air Force's fighter fleet in the next decade. "We bid against Russians," said Sakhamuri an engineer-turned-entrepreneur, who got the idea of using robots on fighter jets after watching a few kids playing a video game.

    His innovation got accepted by the defence laboratories to use it on India's indigenous light-weight combat aircraft Tejas. They wanted to make stealth version of Tejas by using robots to sputter special coating on the aircraft. This would prevent it from getting detected by radar. HHV has built many such indigenous speciality equipment and technologies for customers such as Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Larsen & Toubro and many public sector units.

    For instance it has built hyper-sonic wind tunnels and shock tubes for Isro and DRDO to test their rockets and missiles. However, Sakhamuri's firm, established in 1965 by his father, is not growing by just riding on their core vacuum technology alone.

    Diversification in industries such as solar photovoltaic energy and thin films technology has helped the firm to tap new businesses. This strategy also helped them to attract the attention of venture capital firms such as Aureos Capital and Sidbi that have pumped in a total funding of Rs 60 crore in the past five years. With around 450 employees, HHV is now clocking annual revenues of Rs 180 crore and aims to double it by next year.

    "It is a family run company, but the management has a professional approach," said Balaji Srinivas managing partner at Aureos. Experts such as Rajiv Chib, associate director for aerospace and defence at consulting firm Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, said HHV's technologies have varied applications in night and day vision equipment used by the armed forces. The potential is yet to be tapped either by indigenous night vision device manufacturers or in the defence offset route. "All the foreign original equipment manufacturers whom I took along during the visit have come away impressed. I am happy to see that HAL has realised their worth in the field of engine assembling," said Chib.

    Seeing the opportunity, HHV is now spinning its defence technologies for industries such as automotive and manufacturing. This year in August it became a global supplier for French automotive components manufacturer Valeo to supply machines that do special coating of headlamp reflectors. These headlamps are fitted in highend cars such as Maserati, Lamborghini and Alfa Romeo. "They lived up to our expectations," said Yannick Le Nue, worldwide industrial director at Valeo. According to AK Barua, professor emeritus at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Kolkata, the oldest research institute in the country, having cutting-edge technology and making globally competitive products is not enough. "China is progressing because there the small companies get lot of government support, which is lacking in our country," said Barua.

    :: - Indian Military News Headlines ::
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  3. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 24, 2010
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    yu hoooo.... j20... pandaboy.. come here
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