NAL to Partner with Mahindra and L&T for Passenger Aircraft

By admin • June 2nd, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi – The private sector engineering giants Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T), as well as Mahindra and Mahindra Limited, plan to bid for partnership in the prestigious Indian passenger aircraft programme. A panel on behalf of the Indian government has approved the one year feasibility study of the regional transport aircraft (RTA).

The ambitious RTA programme is being headed by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) which will design and manufacture the 90-110 seat plane, with the project cost amounting to $500 million.

The Indian government has also signalled Indian private players to bid as partners for this project. An amount similar to the RTA project cost will be invested in manufacturing and building a service network for the RTA.

NAL is part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) which is India’s premier agency with largest public funding. CSIR Director General Samir Brahmachari said that the aircraft would be fuel-efficient, light and equipped with high-tech electronics. It will require a short-runway, have capability for short-haul and have a minimum carbon footprint. The RTA will provide maximum comfort and controlled noise level for better air travel.

According to NAL officials, the RTA will be ready in six years and a tender inviting private participation will be floated soon. Although the private players like L&T and Mahindra have lost out on earlier government projects for other aircraft projects, it will be keen on bidding on a competitive basis from the RTA. Both L&T and Mahindra have enough expertise to assist NAL with the RTA programme. In fact, Mahindra and Mahindra are already running a five-seat plane development project with NAL.

In March 2010, NAL officials said that they plan to design the RTA with the Indian market in mind, adding that existing turboprops do not meet those requirements. These include higher fuel efficiency, short landing and take-off capability, and the ability to transport cargo. This will give the aircraft 25% lower acquisition costs, 25% lower operating costs and 50% lower maintenance costs than existing turboprop regional aircraft, says NAL.

source: india defence online

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