Several inquiries have been received for the export of Hansa-3, an indigenously built two-seater, multi-purpose aircraft expected to go into commercial production shortly. The aircraft is part of an initiative from government laboratories and industrial groups to develop a civil aircraft industry in the country.
With an estimated expenditure of Rs 70,000 crore in the next 20 years in aircraft acquisition alone, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and its laboratories have undertaken a programme of aircraft design and development, and more aircraft models including passenger aircraft are to be unveiled like the two-seater Hansa-3. A 14-seater aircraft named Saras is next in line. Currently, India imports most of its aircraft.
According to Union minister for science and technology Murli Manohar Joshi, the Hansa-3 will be primarily used in flying institutes in the country, for pilot training, sports, surveillance , aerial photography and environment-related projects. Joshi is scheduled to inaugurate the test flight series in Bangalore on May 11.
Joshi yesterday said the CSIR initiative in the civil aviation sector will greatly reduce the cost of aviation, and hinted that several aircraft models, including passenger aircraft, were in the pipeline. With Union minister for civil aviation Ananth Kumar also promising cheaper air travel, funds are not likely to be a constraint to CSIRs efforts under the Atal Behari Vajpayee government.
Hansa-3 has been developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a CSIR lab, alongwith Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd, which is responsible for the aircrafts commercial production and marketing.
Due to its indigenous production, it has been priced lower than the international price: $90,000 (Rs 35 lakh), compared to the international price of a similar aircraft of $1,10,000.
Initial production capacity is about 10-12 aircraft per year with the potential for immediate enhancement to 20-25 aircraft annually.
The aircraft has received the necessary certification from the DGCA, and is in the process of receiving Europes JAR-VLA (Joint Airworthiness Requirements-Very Light Aircraft) certification as well as the Federal Aviation Requirements of US. The certifications are expected to boost the aircrafts export potential. The Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd has so far received export inquiries from Europe, Latin America and Australia.
The light transport aircraft Saras is a 14-seater vehicle. Market surveys have estimated that there would be a demand for at least 250 Saras type aircraft in the next 15 years in the country. It has been designed to perform multiple roles: disaster relief, floriculture development, executive transport, light package carrier, surveillance and opening of remote and difficult-to-access areas, as in the north-eastern states.
NALs partners in the Saras project are Hindustan Aircraft Ltd, Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd. and Kumaran Industries Pvt Ltd (parts manufacturing). Flight test support has been provided by the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) of the Indian Air Force.