This department, which is the first and largest such department in India, was established in 1942 as the Department of Aeronautical Engineering to meet the expanding needs of the Hindustan Aircraft Company (currently known as Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd). Later in 1982, it was significantly expanded to include space science and engineering and renamed as Aerospace Engineering Department. Over the decades, the department has served the aerospace industry (both within India and across the globe) by building major research and test facilities, engaging in research in frontier areas and providing high quality training to a large number of engineers, many of whom have occupied very responsible leadership positions in India and abroad. The department has played a major role in the establishment of several R&D as well as educational institutions devoted to aerospace engineering in the country and in making Bangalore the Aerospace capital of the country.
Owing to its unique position in the aerospace scenario of the country, the department hosts several major facilities, which is rather unusual for an academic institution anywhere. As a reputed research centre in many disciplines, the department now houses ISRO’s first Space Technology Cell, DRDO’s Joint Advanced Technology Program, Centres of Excellence in Computational Fluid Dynamics, High speed Aerodynamics and in Advanced Composites as well as the UGC Centre for Advanced Studies in Propulsion. The department is proactive in responding to the needs of the aerospace missions of the country – the special programs on Rockets and Missiles and on Satellite Technology and Applications run by the department being two illustrative examples. In addition to active involvement in the national programs, the department has several collaborative research projects at the international level as well, thus attracting endowed Chairs and Fellowships. A large number of international collaborations exist with universities in the USA, Canada, European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia and other countries as well as with multinational companies such as Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, General Motors etc.
Aerospace Engineering being intrinsically a multidisciplinary activity, the research interests of the faculty cover a broad range from basic fluid mechanics to avionics. Some of the topics of current interest are Computational Mechanics including CFD, Combustion and Structural Mechanics; Experimental Aerodynamics ranging from low speed flows to hypersonic flows; Fuel Injection Systems and Spray Formation, Advanced Propulsion Systems; Flight Vehicle Dynamics; Advanced Control and Guidance of Aerospace Vehicles (such as aircrafts, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, missiles, launch vehicles and satellites); Structural Health Monitoring; Smart Structures; Aeroelasticity etc. Most of these research topics are of direct relevance to the aerospace industry. It is also worth noting that the expertise of the faculty has also given rise to many innovative and interesting non-aerospace technologies that is recognized worldwide, which includes guidance and control of under-water vehicles, mobile robotics, bio-inspired designs and decision-making, human factors, nano and bio technologies, drug delivery using shock-waves and automatic feedback control, minimization of waste in wood industry, gasification of biomass etc.
The department currently has 37 faculties and about 200 graduate students (it has no undergraduate program). The highly-motivated faculties and students of the department regularly publish many of their research findings in reputed international journals and also present their works in national and international conferences. Moreover, the department faculties have published and continue to publish several research monographs and books of high quality. In addition, the faculties and students directly take part in the nation-building exercise by participating in various challenging current and futuristic national projects. The department has two vibrant Masters programmes (ME is largely by course and MSc(Engg) is largely by research) as well as an extremely reputed and prestigious PhD program.