RTA project: ISRO chairman asks for fast-tracking mega project

ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar on Friday underscored the need to speed up the Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA) project. Inaugurating a two-day national conference on the emerging trends in aerospace technologies organised by the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) here, he said the real challenge is whether small aircraft with a seating capacity for 70-90 passengers could be manufactured in the country in a cost-effective manner.

“Not much has happened in passenger aircraft development(in the country),’’ he said. Kumar’s concern regarding the much-delayed RTA programme comes at a time when the Centre is pressing ahead with the ‘Udan’ regional air connectivity scheme. He also touched upon the problems faced by developing nations in getting their products certified for use. “We need to take up the issue (with the powers be) and get it resolved,’’ he said.

Jitendra Jhadhav, director, National Aeronautics Ltd (NAL), said India will need two types of aircraft in the coming years – those with a passenger capacity of 19-20 and a second one which can accommodate 70-80 persons. The first category of aircraft will connect towns less than 300 km apart while the other will link places located at a distance of 500 km and above. He was speaking on ‘Development of Future Commuter Aircraft (electric propulsion and pilotless cockpit) – opportunities’ .

Former DRDO Director General V K Saraswat, who presided over the function, said India faces a lacuna in terms of design capability, whether it be in machinery or aircraft. ‘’I think design is our weakness. Design capabilities have to be harnessed much more significantly,’’ he said. He also called for increased collaboration with the Department of Science, defence establishment and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). AeSI Thiruvananthapuram chairman S Pandian, VSSC director K Sivan, Honorary ISRO distinguished professor Y S Rajan, spoke.

By: New Indian Express

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