DRDO Updates Policy on Development of Aviation Systems After 18 Years

Defence Industry

New Delhi. It has taken two decades for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to update the Policy for Design Development and Production of Military Airsystems and Airborne Stores (DDPMAS) to keep pace with contemporary technical and commercial advancements in the aviation sector.

The policy sets out the procedure to be followed for design and development, production, modification, licence production and indigenisation of aircraft and aviation systems within the military airworthiness regulatory framework.

Rapid advancements in the Indian aviation sector over the past years with significant expansion in the design, development and production activities, increasing accent on self-reliance and indigenisation with ever increasing public and private sector participation necessitated the current policy change.

The policy was first chalked out in 1975 and then revised in 2002, DDPMAS outlines policy level aspect towards ensuring airworthiness of military aviation systems, defines roles, responsibilities and empowerment of all the stakeholders, lays down procedural aspects towards ensuring military airworthiness certification and describes technical airworthiness requirements and associated acceptable means of compliance based on tailored standards.

New chapters on unmanned aerial systems, air launched missiles, research systems, civil certified military airsystems, continuing airworthiness, organisation approvals and exports, have now been added to the policy document.

To facilitate the private industry and boost the Make-in-India policy, organisation approvals for design, production and maintenance have been added. Airworthiness coverage to the private industry, even when no expression of interest or supply order from the government exists, has also been addressed.

Inputs from various stakeholders regarding the impediments and difficulties in following the DDPMAS have been addressed without compromising the philosophy of airworthiness.

While demarcating the requirements for airsystems and airborne stores, the new document also addresses engines, materials, software, identification of parts, test rigs, tools, testers and ground equipment separately.

The revised DDPMAS recognises that the future of military aviation will involve joint ventures and consortiums with design houses of foreign origin, which will entail mutual recognition of design and certification methodologies.

In order to facilitate international understanding, cooperation and success of the ventures leading to acquiring strategic technologies, the DDPMAS has introduced global parlance and internationally followed terminologies with one-to-one-mapping of equivalent regulatory articles wherever applicable to Indian processes and procedures.

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