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Indian university students participate in C-130J Super Hercules roll-on/roll-off competition


Teams from five leading Indian universities recently presented design concepts supporting the disaster relief operations here as part of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules Roll-On/Roll-Off University Design Challenge.

Lockheed Martin launched the Indian University design challenge in November 2014. The company provided research grants for each university team to work with local industry partners and mentors from the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to develop design specifications for proposed modules that could be used on C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) operates a fleet of fiveC-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

Lockheed Martin provided each team with engineering, technical and business development expertise. The company will award three of the teams a second-year grant in 2016 to develop a prototype of their module and additional mentoring to develop a go-to-market strategy.

At the end of the design challenge, Lockheed Martin representatives will work with each team to explore options with government and industry to mature the prototype for global markets.

Teams participating in the challenge are from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, IIT Chennai, Delhi Technological University (DTU), University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), and Birla Institute of Technological Studies (BITS) Pilani-Goa Campus.

"Lockheed Martin has supported the Indian Air Force C-130J fleet since 2008. We are proud of the IAF's accomplishments in setting new operational records and in multiple humanitarian operations in the past few years," said Abhay Paranjape, director of Air Mobility Business Development for India at Lockheed Martin.

"The Super Hercules Roll-On/Roll-Off University Challenge provides new opportunities to develop unique solutions and increase the versatility of the global C-130 fleet, which spans 16 nations around the world," added Paranjape.

During this recent round of presentations, students met with Indian Air Force C-130J pilots, engineers and load masters to understand how typical roll-on/roll-off missions are managed for disaster relief operations.

The C-130 has a built-in ramp that allows cargo or mission system modules to be literally rolled-on and off, allowing for cargo areas to be reconfigured anywhere in a matter of hours without requiring major design modifications.

"Designing systems with the end-user in mind increases the chance of product adoption. We need new, out-of-the-box ideas from initiatives like this to address future challenges," said Group Captain Jasween Singh Chatrath, Commander of 77th Squadron that operates the IAF's C-130J aircraft.

Group Captain Sanjay Sharma from Air Force Headquarters met with the students and encouraged them to reach out to Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to ensure that the products the students are developing are consistent with future NDRF mission needs; and urged the students to take into account operational economics of the proposed solution to make sure it will be cost-effective.

In continuous production longer than any other military aircraft, theC-130 Hercules has earned a reputation as a work horse ready for any mission, anywhere, anytime. To date, almost 2,500 C-130s have been delivered to operators around the world.The IAF is contracted to receive an additional six C-130Js through a Foreign Military Sale with the U.S. government. Indian Air Force C-130Js played an active role in recent disaster relief operations including the Uttrakhand floods and Nepal Earthquake.

As a part of its larger commitment to enhance the growth and development of India's innovation and entrepreneurial pursuits, Lockheed Martin has successfully run the India Innovation Growth Programme (IIGP) since 2007 in partnership with the Indian Department of Science and Technology, Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas.

Lockheed Martin's urban unmanned aerial system programme with DTU has been equally successful, and forms the basis of its future collaborative research and development efforts in India.

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First Published: Tue, August 25 2015. 18:55 IST