India initiates steps to develop first homegrown civil plane
India has initiated steps to build its first indigenous civilian transport aircraft under a public-private partnership project that will be undertaken in a national mission mode.
Government has set up a 15-member high-power committee (HPC) on National Civil Aircraft Development with former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair as its Chairman for management and development of the key project.
The first meeting of the core team of the committee comprising technologists is scheduled to be held tomorrow at the National Aerspace Laboratory (NAL) in Bangalore to chart out a broad vision for the project, officials said.
The HPC will carry out a feasibility study for the project to be set up as a public-private partnership that is expected to evolve eventually into a new entity for development of a national civil transport aircraft and provide a basis for civil aircraft industry in the country.
"We are looking at developing a 90-100 seater civilian aircraft utilising nationally available talent and industry resources," a senior official involved with the project said.
This development comes weeks after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said there was no technical flaw in the Saras aircraft. The Prototype-II of Saras aircraft, developed by CSIR's NAL, had crashed during a test flight on March 6 last year killing the three-member crew.
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-NAL will assist the HPC in implementation of the project.
The terms of reference of the HPC include evolving a strategy for development of a civil aircraft indigenously; provide details on aircraft definition and performance, technologies and system, manufacturing plan, investments required, risk analysis and holding discussions with global original equipment manufacturers for partnership avenues.
The HPC has also been tasked to set up a core design group with seeding from CSIR-NAL which could be subsequently upgraded to a full-fledged Design Centre.
The Design Centre will be set up by drawing manpower from CSIR-NAL, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Aeronautic Development Authority, Defence Research and Development Organisation and Indian Space Research Organisation.