- May 29, 2009
The idea is to develop a vehicle that can take off from conventional airfields, collect air in the atmosphere on the way up, liquefy it, separate oxygen and store it on board for subsequent flight beyond the atmosphere. In fact, Air Commodore R. Gopalaswami, former chairman and managing director of Bharat Dynamics, India's missile factory, had once claimed that it could be developed even into a commercial transporter. Incidentally, it was Gopalaswami who suggested the name Avatar.Studies in India, not only at NAL but DRDL (the DRDO's missile lab), IIT Mumbai and ADE, are learnt to be running parallel to and not behind the Euro-American ventures. The hyperplane Avatar, the most ambitious of all, is already reaching the end of the conceptual stage and entering the planning stage. The kerosene-fuelled scramjet-powered vehicle is claimed to be much cheaper than the design concepts worked in the US, Germany, the UK and Japan.