India plans 90-seater civilian plane; CSIR sets up design bureau
India plans 90-seater civilian plane; CSIR sets up design bureau - The Economic Times
New Delhi: India is working on developing its own 90-seater civilian aircraft with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) saying "the strategy for its production has already been evolved" with the design "planned to have unique features like enhanced fuel efficiency, use of bio fuel with low carbon footprint, short to long range haul, shorter air strip requirement and ultra modern avionics".
A design bureau has been set up to undertake indigenous design and development of the plane, called the National Civil Aircraft (NCA-90 ). A total of seven prototypes are proposed to be developed by CSIR along with the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) "to prove the design and demonstrate compliance with respect to airworthiness requirements and certification".
The Planning Commission says the aircraft will be tailored to suit market requirements and will have attractive operating economics . It estimates that "the design and development of the aircraft would cost Rs 4,355 crore. The estimated series production cost would be another Rs 3,200 crore".
Confirming this to TOI, Dr Sudeep Kumar, head of CSIR's planning and performance division, said, "We have set up two separate committees - one for joint venture development that is looking for a corporate group or groups who will join us in developing the aircraft from scratch and then will commercially produce it. The second committee is a technical one which is overlooking the entire project of developing the aircraft."
Dr Kumar added, "The council has already had talks with the Tata group and will soon meet with Mahindra Aerospace to look for partnership." Bangalore-based NAL had earlier developed India's first multi purpose 14-seater civilian aircraft Saras. But on March 6, 2009, two IAF test pilots along with a flight test engineer were killed when the second prototype crashed 30 km from Bangalore.
"Saras was 14-seater while NCA is 90-seater. NCA will also be a state-of-the-art machine. We have been asked by the Planning Commission to move a Cabinet note," Dr Kumar said.
According to the CSIR, most developed countries have their own national aircraft. "It is a niche technology. No country wants to share it with others. India has its desired expertise through NAL to develop its very own national civilian aircraft," Dr Kumar said.
Developing the NCA-90, officials say, will not only put India as part of this elite group but will also develop the ancillary industry.