If you have thought that India doesn’t have a ‘Made in India’ civil aircraft, you may soon have to brush up on your knowledge.
India’s homegrown 14-seater aircraft Saras which has been re-engined and modified is all set to take off for the first time in the first week of June.
Bengaluru-based National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) has handed over the aircraft to Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) for test flights amid the government’s push to promote regional connectivity.
Although the plane was conceived as a civil aircraft, NAL has been pushing Saras for military certification. Saras will now boast of multi-role capabilities like feeder line aircraft, air ambulance, executive aircraft, troop transport, reconnaissance, aerial survey and light cargo transport.
“The engine tests have already been started. The low-speed taxi and high-speed taxi trials are expected to be completed by the end of this month. After that, the ASTE will do the first flight most probably in the first week of June,” said Jitendra J Jadhav, NAL Director.
According to NAL, manufacturing of two Limited Series Prototypes of Saras will require Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore.
“The final product will be taken care of by the IAF, but we will need this amount for the prototypes,” Jadhav added.