Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been demonstrating its latest upgrades for the Dornier 228 twin turboprop at this week’s Aero India show in Bangalore. On display for the first time is a new glass cockpit developed by the Swiss-based Ruag group. This is part of an upgrade package for the utility/commuter aircraft that they intend to take into licensed production in India under an established agreement with the former German airframer Dornier.
The Ruag cockpit features four large LCD displays, two of which serve as primary flight displays with the other two being multifunction displays. The reworked avionics suite includes the following new systems: integrated standby instruments, a dual flight management system (FMS), a dual engine data concentrator unit, a dual attitude and heading reference system, a dual digital air data computer, and an engine indication and crew alerting system. Optional equipment will include a surveillance/weather radar, forward-looking infrared and video cameras. All of these systems are integrated through a new Arinc 429 data bus interface.
To address specific Indian requirements, the proposed Do-228 cockpit’s FMS is equipped to work with the country’s new GPS-aided GEO Augmented Navigation (Gagan) program. HAL and M/s Dornier want to achieve a first flight for the reworked aircraft later this year. Their plans call for up to five or six aircraft to be produced each month at HAL’s Transport Aircraft Division in Kanpur. Indian armed forces and law enforcement agencies already operate 115 Do-228s, some of which are configured for special missions roles. Other aircraft are used to provide transport links to remote areas. HAL is hoping to win an Indian government contract to upgrade its fleet. The 14,100-pound max-takeoff weight aircraft is powered by a pair of 715-shp Garrett TPE-331-5-252D engines and can seat up to 19 passengers.