The transport aircraft fleet will see India revive three aircraft programmes, all being designed in Bengaluru, including the re-engined and modified version of the ambitious 14-seater Saras aircraft.
The National Laboratories Limited (NAL), which first conceived Saras as a civil aircraft has been pushing for a military certification in the past two years.
Saras, the Light Transport Aircraft has presently been handed over to the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment of IAF, and NAL is hopeful of having the first flight in about 45 days.
Manufacturing of two Limited Series Prototypes will require INR 400 crore to INR 500 crore.
Saras will boast of multi-role capabilities like feeder line aircraft, air ambulance, executive aircraft, troop transport, reconnaissance, aerial survey and light cargo transport.
The Saras programme had come crashing down after a 2009 accident.
The original design included a maximum take-off weight of 6,100kg and a maximum payload of 1,232kg.
The first prototype which completed its maiden flight on May 29, 2004, was overweight at 5,118kg compared to the 4,125kg design specifications.
The 70-seater aircraft programme has been relaunched given the renewed emphasis on regional connectivity.
Further, NM5-100, the 5-seater aircraft jointly developed by NAL and Mahindra Aerospace, testing of which was being done in Australia since 2011-12.Saras: Know More
- NAL Saras is the first Indian multi-purpose civilian aircraft in the light transport aircraft category as designed by the National Aerospace Laboratories.
- In January 2016, it was reported that the project has been cancelled.
- Top speed: 750 km/h
- Wingspan: 15 m
- Length: 15 m
- First flight: May 29, 2004
- Manufacturers: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, National Aerospace Laboratories