India to develop regional transport aircraft

September 23rd, 2008 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) Cashing in on the boom in the civil aviation sector, India has embarked on its second project to develop an indigenous 70 to 110-seater regional transport aircraft within six years, a defence official said Tuesday.At a meeting chaired by Defence Minister A.K. Antony here Tuesday, it was decided to undertake the project with foreign collaboration, with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. playing the anchor role.

“We are shortly sending Chandrayan-1 to the moon but we are still importing aircraft. India has the capability of developing the aircraft,” Antony told the meeting of experts.

The main aim of the project will be to come up with a “cheaper, rugged and easy to maintain” aircraft.

Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Secretary (Defence Production) Pradeep Kumar, Private Secretary to Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair, Space Commission chairman G. Madhvan Nair, HAL chairman Ashok Baweja and representatives of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the civil aviation ministry also attended the meeting.

According to civil aviation ministry, India will require more than 1,200 aircraft by 2025 to meet the growing demands of various operators.

While the foreign collaborator has not yet been identified, it could be Brazil’s Embraer or China’s Avic, both of which manufacture regional transport aircraft. This is the second time India is venturing into the sector after an agreement with Russia to develop a medium transport aircraft that has both military and civilian applications.

“The proposed aircraft will have 70 to 110 seats and a range of 3,000 km. The aircraft will be developed keeping in mind the regional and domestic traffic,” a defence official said.

Estimated to cost Rs.40 billion, the aircraft will be developed within six years of the details being finalised.

“Most of the experts attending the meeting felt that the environmental performance of the aircraft in terms of carbon emissions and noise should meet international standards,” the official added.

A detailed project report will be prepared before the next meeting.

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