India’s bid to design and develop its own indigenous civil aircraft is once again under discussion. According to government sources, a new policy decision is expected on the civil aircraft program by February 12.
“We would like the model to be a public private partnership [PPP] under a special purpose vehicle. We are also looking for a foreign partner,” an official with the country’s National Aerospace Laboratories told AIN.
When queried whether Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) could handle another program when it is already weighed down by 12 projects he said, “Not all units of HAL are occupied.”
Meanwhile, NAL’s twin-turboprop Saras, the first Indian multi-purpose civil aircraft in the light transport aircraft category, is finally set to fly in the next two months. The certification basis for the new aircraft will be changed from the earlier civil process to a military certification as the Indian Air Force now has 15 on order. In 2009, two IAF pilots were killed when the second prototype Saras aircraft crashed and caught fire, about 20 miles from Bangalore. A court of inquiry found that incorrect engine relight drills resulted in the crash.