A day before the opening of last month’s Moscow airshow, Sukhoi, Ilyushin and Boeing signed a series of agreements on the regional jet program proposed in mid-April during Boeing CEO Phil Condit’s visit to Moscow. Dubbed the “Russian Regional Jet” (RRJ), the program is aimed at building a prototype in 2004, certification in 2005 and service entry in 2006 or 2007.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
India has agreed to serve as the partner country at the ILA2008 show in Berlin from May 27 to June 1. Some 25 Indian companies, including Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and ISRO, the Indian space research organization, plan to exhibit in a 13,000-sq-ft area, in response to German Minister of Defence Dr. Franz Josef Jung’s invitation. HAL plans to display its HJT-36 Sitara jet trainer and Dhruv helicopter.
Swiss defense and technology group Ruag has decided to relaunch production of the Dornier 228, the 19-seat regional turboprop its defunct developer stopped building in 1998. The company has scheduled airframe assembly to start next year and deliveries to begin in 2010.
Safran’s business in India has taken a step forward following the recent maiden flight of Hindustan Aeronautics’ Dhruv helicopter powered by the Ardiden 1H Shakti turboshaft engine produced by the French group’s Turbomeca division. The move bolsters Safran’s long-term expansion plans in India, not only in the defense market but also in the booming civil sector.
Indian-based manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) is making progress toward European certification of its Dhruv light-twin helicopter. A tentative schedule calls for European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification early in 2009. Indian deliveries began in 2002.
Turbomeca and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will soon be flight testing their codeveloped 1,200-shp Ardiden 1H (or Shakti, under its Indian designation) turboshaft engine, the French partner announced last month. Certification is pegged for this fall, with deliveries to begin shortly thereafter. Initial applications will be upgraded military versions of the twin-turbine HAL Dhruv. The engine made its first ground run in October 2005.
The Aero India airshow, held last month at its traditional venue of Yelahanka Air Force Station, located just outside the IT and business capital of Bangalore, has traditionally been dominated by military programs and displays rather than the multibillion-dollar signings of civilian sales that are the norm at most other major expositions.
Indian state-owned National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) continue working on a 12-passenger twin-turboprop pusher called the Saras, named after the graceful Indian crane. The first prototype, which made its flying debut at Aero India 2005, has logged 95 flight hours in 40 test flights. Teething problems discovered in the initial phase of flight-testing have been solved, NAL director Dr. A.R.
Hindustan Aeronautics claimed new helicopter high-altitude flying records last month, although it remains to be seen whether those records will be certified.
In January the Yelahanka air force base hosted the fifth Aero India show. The event attracted 372 exhibitors, 136 from India and 236 from foreign countries. Few of the more than 60 aircraft at the show were civil helicopters, among them the civilian version of the home-grown Dhruv.