Modified Saras To Make Flying Debut At Aero India 2019; Rs 500 Crore Funding, However, Still In The Pipeline

The light transport aircraft (LTA) Saras, developed by National Aeronautics Laboratory (NAL), will make its flying debut at Aero India in Bengaluru in a hope to cash in on the popularity of the show to further the programme,  The project was conceived of in 1989 but got shelved after the crashing of a Saras prototype aircraft in March 2009. The crash had killed all three crew members. However, the Modi government gave the project a second chance in late 2016, when its revival was announced in 2017 air show. “The project was dumped by the previous government, after the crash despite the Directorate General of Civil Aviation exonerating the aircraft from any design flaw or poor-quality production. The credit for reviving the project goes to the present government,” Union minister Harsh Vardhan was quoted as saying at the 2017 air show. However, the Centre’s Rs 500 crore fund, which NAL needs for starting work on the three proposed limited series production aircraft, is still awaited by the laboratory. “We have been told that it is in the pipeline and clearance is at advanced stages. We are likely to get the money soon,” an official aware of the developments was quoted in the report as saying. According to the report, Saras was expected to be at least 20-25 per cent cheaper than the same category of imported aircraft. Its unit cost was estimated at about Rs 40-45 crore compared to Rs 60-70 crore which imported ones are priced at.


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