Bangalore, October 31: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) conducted the critical Ground Vibration Test (GVT) on a Sukhoi aircraft, which is being integrated with the air version of the BrahMos missile. Confirming details to OneIndia, HAL Chairman R K Tyagi said that the GVT is an important step towards the modification of the Sukhois, which are set to carry the BrahMos missiles in future.
"The recent GVT was aimed at assessing the dynamic behavior of the modified Sukhoi platform. The tests were carried out for a total of nine configurations," Tyagi said. The GVT was done at HAL's Nasik Division in Maharashtra.
A team of experts from the ground test department of HAL's Aircraft Research and Development Centre (ARDC) in Bangalore conducted the GVT in the presence of quality experts, IAF officials and members from the BrahMos Aerospace team.
Tests on nine configurations of the aircraft
The tests were carried out for nine configurations, including clean configuration, with bombs (2 tons) at station 1 & 2 (centerline of the aircraft), with BrahMos missile at the newly-developed station 13, R-27 missiles at station 3-6, R-73 missiles at station 7-10 and SAP518 pod (ECM jamming pod) at station 11-12. "The preliminary results show good agreement between natural frequencies of clean aircraft and design values. These are ongoing tests and are complex in nature. Multiple agencies are involved in the project and we are confident of achieving the tasks within the set targets," Tyagi said. The National Aerospace Laboratories too recently conducted extensive wind tunnel experiments (separation tests) to monitor the health of the aircraft, after BrahMos missile is released.
Repair and overhaul stores facility open
HAL on Friday inaugurated the Su-30 MKI repair and overhaul (ROH) project stores facility at the Nashik Division. HAL has set up a facility for ROH of 15 aircraft per annum at the division. "HAL is one of the few organisations in the world to have set-up ROH facilities for Su-30. This will provide full maintenance support and enhance the serviceability of Su-30MKI fleet through-out its life-cycle. We are also making efforts to indigenise parts required for this aircraft and make the country self-reliant in this segment," Tyagi said. The facility was inaugurated by Secretary Defence Production G Mohan Kumar, who wanted HAL to focus on timely delivery, quality, customer satisfaction and cost reduction.
We shall take on the challenges, HAL Chief
Faced with growing competition from the private sector in military aviation in India, Tyagi told OneIndia that HAL is battle-ready to take on the challenges. "There has been a lot of speculative news about the capabilities of HAL and its future. We are a robust firm well aware of the needs of the changing time. We have constantly invested in our R&D efforts and have been training our manpower to meet the future demands," Tyagi said.
Space will be our new home, says Rakesh Sharma
In an unrelated development, India's first man in space Cosmonaut Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (Retd) said that India's next big destination will be Moon, followed by Mars. Delivering a motivational lecture at IAF's Training Command in Bangalore, the veteran said he never thought that he would ever go to space, but for the opportunity IAF provided him. "India is preparing for manned space activities in collaboration with other countries. In future the space will be our new home, in which the Moon is the first target and then Mars. Age is no bar for space exploration and if given an opportunity, I want to go to space once again," Rakesh Sharma said.
(The writer is a senior aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is a Consulting Editor with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)