'India hopes to fly indigenous 90-seater aircraft in 5 yrs'

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New Delhi, Jul 1: India hopes to test fly its first indigenously-developed 90 seater regional transport aircraft in the next five years, a top official has said.

The 90-seater RTA will be developed as a team India initiative led by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), which could also see some global participation, CSIR Director General Samir Brahmachari said here today.

A committee headed by former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair submitted a feasibility study to Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) recently in this regard.

The Committee, which had top bureaucrats and aerospace scientists as members, has suggested a two-pronged approach -- Design Development and Production Unit -- to realise the objective.

"The Committee has come to a conclusion that the RTA should be a narrow body turbo fan aircraft with a seating capacity for 70-90 persons and stretchable to 80-100 persons," Brahmachari said.

The total project cost is estimated at Rs 7,700 crore -- Rs 4,500 for the design and development stage and Rs 3,200 for the production unit, he said.

The Nair Committee has also suggested that the government pick up the entire tab for the design and development state and has favoured a joint venture route for setting up the production facility.

The panel has set a target of six-eight years for completion of the development and production stage of the project.

"We hope to have the prototype ready in the next five years assuming that the project takes off in 2012," Brahmachari said. 

PTI

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