Bangalore: India's lone civil aerospace laboratory, the National Aerospace Labs (NAL), is looking for a suitable partner for its turbo-powered civil aircraft project.
NAL director, Dr A R Upadhya said that NAL was looking for partners, both domestic and international, who would be able to contribute to the design, technology, production and marketing of the aircraft.
Named RTA-70, the 90-seater aircraft would cost around Rs2,500 crore, and would be developed over the coming five to seven years. Given the way aviation fuel costs have been forever increasing, Dr Upadhya opines that turboprop powered aircraft are the way ahead for short- haul and regional aviation. The RTA-70 has been planned as a low-cost aircraft with newer, cleaner and more efficient technologies, unlike contemporary turboprops which are expensive and need high maintenance.
NAL's 14-seater Saras aircraft could go in for flight certification sometime in the middle of 2010, with two of the prototypes built having completed over 100 flights. The third version of the Saras aircraft, which will be lighter by 500 kg, is scheduled for test flights by June 2009.