Russian-designed Sukhoi fighters (Su-30MKI) with the Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon have in their cockpit an indigenous multi-functional display system manufactured by Samtel in a joint venture with defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), a senior executive said on Wednesday.
"The first home-grown multi-functional display (MFD) system will be fitted in the cockpit of a Sukhoi for a roll-out Friday," Samtel-HAL Display Systems Ltd Executive Director Puneet Kaura told reporters on the margins of a defence conference in Bangalore.
The display systems are being manufactured under a limited series production by the joint venture in collaboration with scientists and engineers of the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at a cost of Rs.250 crore.
In the joint venture formed in 2006, Samtel has 60 percent equity stake, while the $2-billion HAL holds 40 percent stake.
The MFD system is a device that puts aircraft monitoring systems and flight planning functions at a pilot's finger tips. The system displays a composite view of the aircraft's environment, providing the pilot with all information to make safe decisions during every phase of flight.
Engine performance and situational data such as location, terrain and weather and airport information, which are digitally depicted can be quickly interpreted at a glance on the large-format display.
"We have supplied five ship sets of MFD systems to the IAF for conducting flight trials in association with the Aircraft Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac) and HAL," Kaura said on the sidelines of the ‘Indian Aerospace & Suppliers' Conference, organised by KPMG and the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Bangalore.
About 30 flight trials were conducted so far at the HAL airport in Bangalore.
The indigenous MFD systems will replace the flight display systems of French aerospace firm Thales, fitted on Sukhois, reducing the cost significantly.
"The air force is in need of MFD systems in large numbers for its Sukhoi fighters. With their number set to go up, demand for it will increase," an industry source said.
The Sukhoi fleet strength of IAF will go up to 230 by 2017 from 105 currently in phases. The first 90 Sukhois were Russian built, while the remaining 140 are being manufactured by HAL at its Nashik plant in Maharashtra under licence production from Sukhoi Design Bureau.
"We will have to produce five ship-sets every month. We hope to meet the requirement in the next five years. The systems were cleared for the series production a fortnight ago," Kaura said.
Samtel is in advanced talks with some international firms to market the technology.
"Our technology is ready and the potential is huge as it operates in all-weather conditions," Kaura added.