India: First Domestically-Made Airplanes by 2020

New Delhi, Jul 2 (Prensa Latina) India could join the exclusive club of airplane-manufacturing countries by 2010 or earlier, according to a report issued by aerospace scientists, industry leaders and officials.

The country has the technological capacity to design and make its own 70 to 90-seat airplane, and expand it to 80-100 seats, says a report addressed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and quoted Saturday by The Hindu newspaper.

The panel led by former head of the Space Research Agency G.M. Nair and general director of the Scientific, Industrial Research Council, S. Brahmachari, estimated that the design of the plane could cost 100-170 million USD and the installation of a production unit would take an investment of over 70 million USD.

The team suggested the government assume the total cost of design and join the private sector in financing a production plant.

After intensive discussions among concerned parties, including the Israeli Aerospace Agency and a Swedish firm, the group recommended making narrow-fuselage, turboprop planes capable of taking off and landing on moderately-long runways and covering about 2,500 km non-stop, in order to secure direct connectivity among as much places in the country as possible, said Brahmachari.

The National Aerospace Lab in Bangalore, where India is developing its space program, would be in charge of design.

Brahmachari hopes to have the prototype ready in five years after receiving all authorizations needed.

“There are many international players interested in the project,” he said.

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