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NCAD - India's Foray into next generation Civil Transport Aircraft Print E-mail
Written by James, Ganesh   
Saturday, 19 November 2011
Bangalore: The high powered committee on National Civil Aircraft Development (NCAD) programme is looking at enhancing its range to 3200 km and its seating capacity to 110 against earlier design specs of a 70- 80 seater with a range of 2,500 km.

During Sarod- 2011 [Fifth Symposium on Applied Aerodynamics & Design of Aerospace Vehicles], Dr.AR Upadhya Former Director, NAL said that the increase from its existent range to the proposed range, was to enable international operations as well.

He said that of the Rs 7,555 crore requirement for the 90-seater twin turbo fan engine powered aircraft project, Rs 3,200 crore would be for series production, while Rs 4,355 crores would be for design and development. The cabinet approval for the same is expected soon.

The NCAD programme is expected to have its first flight within the next four and a half years. It is expected to be certified and ready for series production in eight years time.

The HPC, chaired by former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation ( ISRO) G Madhavan Nair, has set a target of lower costs of acquisition, maintenance and operations and fuel consumption by at least 25 per cent in each of these areas vis-a-vis this proposed aircraft.

"Studies have shown that a shorter runway, planes that fly marginally slower (at .70 mach instead of .78 mach) and fly at higher altitudes, as well as using medium-sized aircrafts can cut down emissions," said Upadhya. He emphasised the need to focus on a civil aviation programme, considering the demand for around 500 aircraft from within the country itself.

The proposed aircraft can take-off from a runway range of 1,600 metres and also from ill-equipped airfields. Regional aircraft requirement in India in the next 20 years is projected to be 350 from the civil side and 100 military, Upadhya said.

The high powered committee has already looked at engines manufactured by global majors Pratt & Whitney, Safran, Rolls-Royce and GE. "We are looking at various (engine) options (for our regional civil aircraft)", Upadhya added.

"India is only BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) country not to have a civil aviation programme," Upadhya said. "It's an appropriate time to launch a major initiative in capability building in civil aircraft design and development and lay a strong foundation," he said.

The high powered committee with experts drawn from the government, industry, financial institutions and regulatory authority, among others, is formally overseeing the project, and it would structure a joint venture with Public Private Partnership and evolve an organisational structure for a new entity, officials said.

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