“GA has a lot to offer to India”

Published: December 18, 2014 - 18:16 Updated: August 28, 2015 - 16:45

Till a few months ago, Dr Vivek Lall, an aerospace and defense expert, was the President of Reliance Industries looking after new ventures that included in sectors like homeland security, defense and media. Many of the businesses got hit by earlier government’s policy paralysis. Dismayed by this slow progress and, he joined General Atomics, San Diego, one of US’s major defense contractor that specializes in cutting edge research. GA is known for its cutting edge research in defense and energy sector. During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the USA, Dr. Lall shared with him his views on how to turn the country into a manufacturing hub. GA is exploring areas of collaboration with the Indian government. Excerpts from an interview


General Atomics is an extremely successful, privately held company with a diverse set of products, services and technologies. As chief executive of Commercial Global Strategic Development for GA Electromagnetic Systems Group, could you give us a brief profile of your organization? 

GA Electromagnetic Systems Group (GA-EMS) is a recognized leader in the research, development and manufacture of cutting-edge electromagnetic and electric power components and systems designed to meet the growing demand for more reliable, fuel-efficient power.  We offer electric power generation, propulsion, distribution and monitoring products to support a wide variety of defense, oil/gas, chemical, energy, mining, nuclear power, research, and training requirements worldwide. 

We are committed to on-going research to keep us on the forefront of emerging market trends, and to delivering high quality products and services to help keep our customers competitive in the markets they serve.  

What sets GA-EMS’ technology and product offerings apart from others? 

Now, more than ever, we are called upon to leverage technology resources in new ways. Not only do we need to design, build, launch and support systems that keep services mission ready, we must develop systems that utilize electric energy more efficiently and are designed to ease maintenance and reduce lifecycle costs.  Our products push the boundaries of energy and fuel efficiencies, harsh operational environments, and high reliability standards. An example is our work under contract with the U.S. Navy for the installation of an electromagnetic aircraft launch and recovery system on the new U.S. aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). We have successfully leveraged our experience in thermonuclear fusion research, and linear motor and electromagnetic launcher development to create this state-of-the-art aircraft launch system. The system is a highly redundant, modular design with few moving parts. 

Could the electromagnetic aircraft launch system be implemented to help advance the Indian Navy? 

Yes, with concurrence from the US Navy and permission to export, the system could provide many key benefits to advance the Indian Navy. The system’s flexible architecture allows for integration into a range of platforms with differing catapult configurations, enabling the launch and recovery of a wide variety of aircraft, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, to enhance situational awareness.  Our integrated system requires fewer personnel to operate and maintain, and provides a more fuel efficient alternative to legacy catapult systems. 

What other products does GA have to offer India? 

GA is uniquely positioned to support India with working solutions to help meet growing demand for more efficient power technology. We’re currently applying our highly efficient motors, generators, drives, high energy capacitors and integrated systems for use in power generation, integrated propulsion, and electric distribution applications for mining, solar energy, smart electric power grids, water and wastewater treatment, maritime, and oil/gas applications. We specialize in first-of-a-kind systems and product customization to suit industry-specific requirements.  For instance, our Gulftronic Electrostatic Separators are helping produce better yields at oil refineries through a unique, patented automated electrochemical process. For Indian refineries, this could mean greater efficiencies and improved yields as demand for oil and gas increases in a highly competitive world market.

India can also benefit from GA’s high quality, extremely reliable radiation monitoring systems for the nuclear power industry.  With over 40 years of experience, and more than 120 successfully fielded systems operating worldwide, GA is a recognized leader in the design, development and support of environmentally and seismically qualified radiation monitoring systems. As India continues to address demand for more electricity via nuclear power, integrating proven radiation monitoring systems could help existing and new nuclear power plants improve safety and ensure continuous power generation. 

How is your organization positioned for the future? 

We will continue to leverage our unique electromagnetic and electric technologies, unmatched technical and design expertise, and commitment to research and development to create customized solutions that offer more efficient electric power for critical applications worldwide.  We look forward to continuing to explore opportunities with India to collaborate and to enable technology innovations that address industry demand, growing markets, and new and changing requirements.  

Dr Vivek Lall, an aerospace and Defense expert, shares his views on how to turn the country into a manufacturing hub

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