Source : Indian Defence Analysis
CSIR-NAL needs $2 Billion for the development of RTA-90 aircraft program
India is already the third largest civil aviation market in the world and is having huge demand of aircrafts for domestic as well as military purpose. In February 2023, Air India has made a deal for the purchase of 470 aircrafts from Boeing & Airbus. Under the two deals, Air India will purchase 250 Airbus jets including 210 A320neo family aircraft as well as 40 A350s, 220 Boeing models comprising 190 737 Max, 20 787s and 10 of its largest 777X. This makes for a total of a 470-plane order for the airline. It is being touted as the largest purchase in commercial aviation history with an estimated cost of Rs 6.4 lakh crore.
This is the reason why self-reliance in aviation is important as all the hard-earned forex reserve will be spent on foreign companies. At the same time, it also creates dependency on the foreign nations during war time. Due to western sanction Russia faced issues in operating its fleet of Boeing and Airbus and has to resort to stripping jetliners for spares.
India has been a slow starter in Aerospace sector as not enough fund and focus was given by governments for its development. Many programs has been sanctioned but not with enough fund to drive R&D and take the program to conclusive end.
$2 Billion for RTA (Regional Transport Aircraft)
In the field of commercial jets, CSIR-NAL has done lot of work. In an interview to ET Infra, Dr. Abhay A. Pashilkar, Director, CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, stated that a clean sheet design and development of the country’s first regional aircraft, referred to as Regional Transport Aircraft or RTA, a 90-seat turboprop aircraft, will require funding of up to $2 billion and the project will be executed under a Special Purpose Vehicle to ensure efficient execution.
“Typically, $1 billion for full scale engineering development, and then subsequent production will be done by industry. So typically, overall, it is something like $2 billion of investment for a clean sheet design, as they call it. So the derivative design where we take an existing aircraft would be probably less expensive in that sense but that is the kind of ballpark figure,”
CSIR Regional Transport Aircraft
The 90 seater, Regional Transport Aircraft is going to be a turboprop airliner with fly-by-wire flight control system, next generation power plant, open distributed modular avionics, GPS, low cost HUD & advance multi functional display. It also has faster troubleshooting, lean ground infrastructure, self clean coatings, driving coatings, abrasion resistant, composite airframe and structural health monitoring. The aircraft will require 50% less maintenance.
The aircraft will have length of 31.83m & wingspan of 27m. It will have cruise speed of 550 Kmph & service ceiling of 30,000ft. With 90 passenger on board the aircraft will have range of 1500 km.It will feature wide cabin 4 abreast arrangement. The aircraft will be capable of landing and taking off from unequipped runways.
Status of RTA (Regional Transport Aircraft)
As of now, we are in the project definition phase, it started last April and will conclude by September this year. Apart from HAL & DRDO, NAL is looking for private sector partners which could be either domestic or foreign firms to enable more funding options and diversify the target market.
During Aero India 2023, CSIR-NAL and ANTONOV has signed NDA for exchanging technical information and cooperation for Regional Transport Aircraft design & development program.
Signing of NDA b/n CSIR-NAL and ANTONOV at Aero India 2023 for exchanging technical information and cooperation for Regional Transport Aircraft design & development program@CSIR_IND @DrNKalaiselvi @HALHQBLR @MoCA_GoI pic.twitter.com/oRqyDSVYsW
— CSIR-NAL (@CSIRNALOFFICIAL) February 16, 2023
Once the project definition phase is over, we will be providing a detailed project report to the government which will includes How & what needs to be developed & designed. Who are going to be the possible partners working on the project within Indian and abroad.
After the acceptance of the project report by government, the full fledge engineering & development activities will commence.
The government has already given in-principal approval for the full-scale engineering development of the RTA project.