New Delhi: Russia has evinced keen interest in partnering India in its ambitious initiative to design and develop a regional transport aircraft.
United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), Russian state-owned civil and military airplane manufacturer, has offered to set up joint development and manufacturing facilities in India, officials said.
The offer was made during a recent visit of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to Moscow for the Intergovernmental Commission meeting on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation.
Officials from UAC made a detailed presentation to the Indian delegation led by Khurshid highlighting areas for future cooperation which includes joint development of passenger aircraft and helicopters.
The UAC manufactures a range of aircraft from the 100-seater Sukhoi Superjet to the 436-seater IL-96-400M plane besides a wide variety of fighter jets for the armed forces.
Russian officials feel that co-production in India would improve commercial prospects of its aircraft in a market dominated by US and European aircraft makers.
India, the only BRICS nation without indigenous passenger aircraft manufacturing capability, has set up a National Civilian Aircraft Design Bureau, which is working on the prelimnary design of the project.
National Aerospace Laboratory, a constituent of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is spearheading the National Civil Aircraft Development project along with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
In a related development, government last week decided to set up a experts group to identify synergies in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC).
The move is significant as India currently does not have any mechanism for certification of civil aircraft and components.
Currently, HAL produces aircraft and helicopters for military use under licensed production agreements with foreign vendors.
"Civil certification for such production is almost impossible with the present regulations of the DGCA which require that origination must be type certificate holder of design for undertaking production," officials said.