Bangalore: India will design and develop a civilian transport aircraft which will be used for a feeder service connecting towns and cities across the country, a top scientist said Saturday.
"The civilian transport aircraft will be designed and developed under public-private partnership to meet national requirements with the support of the government," said Indian space agency’s former chairman G. Madhavan Nair, who heads the ambitious project.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Friday constituted a 15-member high powered committee under Nair`s chairmanship to launch the national civil aircraft development project.
"The government has recognised the need for such an indigenous civilian aircraft with 90-100 seater capacity for passenger service or freight service of equivalent capacity. A feasibility report will be prepared in a year to execute the project," Nair told reporters after the committee`s first meeting in which nine members participated.
The full-fledged committee will meet May 27 to work out the modalities, including the type of aircraft to be developed, the infrastructure required and the development cycle from design to manufacturing the aircraft in large numbers in partnership with the industry.
"In a year’s time, we will come out with a project report. Design and development cost of the project is estimated to be about Rs.5,000 crore, with a four-five year timeline to roll out the first prototype," Nair said.
The National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) under the aegis of CSIR will be the main agency to implement the project in association with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
"The design centre for the regional civilian aircraft project will be set up in Bangalore under the supervision of NAL. Private partners will be involved right from the design stage. We will also explore a joint venture for developing the engine with a global aerospace major," CSIR director-general Samir Kumar Brahmachari said.
The empowered committee also took stock of the capabilities of the state-run aerospace agencies and the industry to undertake the project in a national mission mode.
"The feasibility study will decide if the aircraft should be fitted with turboprop engine or turbo jet engine. The project will be driven by NAL and other state-run organisations as an Indian programme with the active participation of the industry," Brahmachari noted.
NAL has demonstrated design and development capabilities with the production of Hansa trainer aircraft and prototype versions of 14-seater Saras aircraft for military and civil purposes.