T. Suvarna Raju Saturday took over as the 17th chairman of the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), following his predecessor R.K. Tyagi’s retirement. “My priorities will be on operational excellence, building the company as a technology powerhouse and creating a knowledge organisation,” Raju said in a statement after assuming charge in Bengaluru.
Raju, director for design and development in the Rs.15,000-crore ($2.5 billion) defence behemoth, was selected from among five contenders to succeed Tyagi by the Public Enterprises Selection Board Sep 16 in New Delhi. Raju, who has the distinction of being granted the first patent in the company in 2002, has applied for a whopping 1,000 patents during the last two years.
“My goal will be to align the company with the government’s ‘Make in India’ endeavour though it’s a challenging task in aerospace. I believe the best of technologies can never be bought, but can only be developed,” Raju said. Hailing from a village in West Godavari district in coastal Andhra Pradesh, Raju joined HAL in June 1980 as management trainee after graduating from IIT in Chennai.
He has master’s degrees in business administration and in defence and strategic studies. Raju, who drafted the company’s first research and development (R&D) policy, spearheaded the country’s self-reliance in producing 25 kN (kilo Newton) turbofan engines. “Under Raju’s leadership, the company initiated several R&D programmes covering Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), HTT-40 trainer, Jaguar Darin-III and Mirage upgrade,” the statement said.
Raju was also instrumental in setting up a production line for rolling out advanced jet trainer (AJT) Hawk under licence from Britain’s BAE Systems for Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter pilots. Raju is also the first member-secretary of the design development management board in the defence ministry and member-secretary of the national aeronautics coordination group. (IANS)