SARAS successfully test flown for a second time

India’s indigenous light transport aircraft SARAS has been successfully test flown for a second time on 21 February 2018. The aircraft took off from HAL’s airport in Bengaluru for a text book flight. Union minister for Science and Technology Dr.Harsh Vardhan witnessed successful test flight of India’s indigenous light transport aircraft SARAS in Bengaluru.

  • This was the second of the 20 test flights planned for SARAS PT1N, before freezing the production version.
  • The first successful test was carried out on January 24, 2018.
  • The design and development of the aircraft is being done by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, NAL. 
  • The project was dumped  after an accident during test flight in 2009. Though the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, DGCA had exonerated the aircraft from any design flaw or poor-quality production, no effort was made to revive the project.
  • According to the Union Science and Technology Minister Shri Harshvardhan, CSIR-NAL proposes to get the SARAS-Mk 2 version certified initially for military and subsequently for civil version. 
  • SARAS will be 20-25% cheaper than any imported aircraft in the same category. The improved version will be a 19-seater aircraft instead of 14-seater. 
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, HAL has been identified as the production agency for the military version of SARAS, while the production of civil version will be given to identified private industries.
  • India needs 120-160 aircraft in this genre – both civil and military versions – in the next 10 years.
  • SARAS Mk 2 will be ideal for commuter connectivity under Government of India’s UDAAN Scheme for variety of applications like air taxi, aerial search/survey, executive transport, disaster management, border patrol, coast guard, ambulance and other community services.
  • The aircrafts currently available in the international market are of 1970’s technology, such as Beechcraft 19000D. Dornier-228, Embraer EMB 110. They have higher fuel consumption, lower speeds, unpressurised cabin, high operating cost and unsuitable for operations from hot and high-altitude airfields. After India began its light transport aircraft project, countries like Russia, China, USA, Indonesia and Poland have launched new programmes for development of next generation 19-seater aircraft.
  • On the other hand, the upgraded SARAS Mk2 version has considerable drag/weight reduction with unique features like high cruise speed, lower fuel consumption, short landing and take-off distance, low cabin noise, operable from high and hot airfield, with pressurized cabin, operable from semi prepared airfield and low acquisition and maintenance cost.    



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