Plan panel to allocate Rs 5000 crore to develop civilian plane

Plan panel to allocate Rs 5000 crore to develop civilian plane

CSIR's ambitious plans to develop a 90-seater passenger aircraft are set to get a boost with the Planning Commission expected to allocate Rs 5,000 crore for the project in the 12th Five Year Plan.

"The Planning Commission is expected to sanction Rs 5,000 crore for the design and development phase of the project in the 12th Plan," officials said.

The civilian RTA project was proposed by a 15-member High Powered Committee (HPC) for National Civil Aircraft Development (NCAD), set up by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in May 2010 under the aegis of former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair.

The HPC had recommended that the government should fund the development phase of the aircraft and suggested a joint venture with a private partner for the production phase.

However, the Planning Commission suggested creation of a joint venture (JV) with private equity participation for both the development phase as well as for the production phase.
Acting on the plan panel's suggestion, the CSIR had set up a committee chaired by former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar to the identify industry partner for the joint venture and suggest equity structure for it.

The joint venture will have to be structured in such a way that it ensures that linkages are maintained between both the phases, the officials said.

The Kelkar Committee is expected to float Expression of Interest inviting private participation in the design and development phase of a 90-seater Regional Transport Aircraft.

The officials said a consortium of aerospace industry companies, on the line of the Europe's Airbus Industries, would be a desirable option. "A total of seven prototypes are proposed to be developed by CSIR-NAL to prove the design and demonstrate compliance with respect to airworthiness requirements and certification," said a 12th Plan working group report for CSIR.

The aircraft will be tailored to suit Indian requirements and is expected to have attractive operating economics.

As per aviation market projections, the country will require about 500-600 regional aircraft, while the global market is estimated to be about 5,000-6,000 aircraft.
A technical committee, chaired by aerospace engineer Roddam Narasimha, is examining the the NCAD programme and guiding CSIR-NAL to create a detailed document for its implementation and identifying the work modules.

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