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Aero scientists pull off LCA, struggle with IJT, Saras

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by CONNAN, May 1, 2011.

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  1. CONNAN

    CONNAN Major ELITE MEMBER

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    BANGALORE: The crash of the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) has brought to light the complex situation the Indian aerospace community finds itself in. How is it that Indian aero-scientists and the IAF have been able to develop a highly complex aircraft and trainer in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to Initial Operational Clearance, without a single crash, but are struggling to develop an intermediate version of a military aircraft trainer, the IJT, and the first indigenous civil aircraft, Saras?

    The IJT crash and NAL's indigenous Saras crash in March 2009, which killed three pilots, pose a serious challenge to the aerospace community in building an indigenous intermediate military trainer aircraft on the one hand, and an indigenous civil aircraft, on the other. In between, LCA has emerged as a beacon of hope.

    IJT vs SARAS

    While IJT is intended to help train pilots in the military domain, the Saras is a civil aircraft. Aero-scientists say technologies involving the two types of aircraft are different, as are the dimensions of flight, aerodynamics, play of engine power and manoeuvrability of the aircraft.

    The Saras has been criticized for being woefully overweight and behind schedule. The Saras first flew in 2004, and the first prototype exceeded its empty-weight target by almost 25% (990kg). The original 850shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A pusher turboprops had to be replaced with 1,200shp versions in the second prototype. The NAL is now building a third Saras, with a targeted 500kg weight reduction.

    PT3 is not expected to fly before year-end, pushing Indian certification of the Saras into 2012, and any design changes resulting from the crash would delay things further. India's Comptroller and Auditor General had strongly criticized NAL's performance last year, recommending the proposed development of a 70-seat regional transport craft be reviewed in the light of the difficulties with the Saras, and limited success of NAL's first design, the Hansa trainer, only 10 of which were built.

    The IJT's first crash involved the canopy flying off, while the second involved a belly landing. Both crashes had broadly brought up airframe design issues with the stress on aero structures not in line with expectations. While different parameters work for the IJT and Saras, a common facet in both projects would be to ensure a compact, and as far as possible, stress-free airframe or one that can withstand pressure and loads at varying heights. Design is the foremost challenge both projects face now as they seem to be unable to withstand any manoeuvre or movement that is just a small deviation from the norm.

    The IJT crash and NAL's indigenous Saras crash in March 2009, which killed three pilots, pose a serious challenge to the aerospace community in building an indigenous intermediate military trainer aircraft on the one hand, and an indigenous civil aircraft, on the other. In between, LCA has emerged as a beacon of hope.

    Aero scientists pull off LCA, struggle with IJT, Saras - Times Of India
     
  2. tariqkhan18

    tariqkhan18 Major Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    Not much investment in the IJT
     
  3. flanker143

    flanker143 Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    whats the status of the saras project....
    Haven't heard any new stuff about it since a long time....
     
  4. Spartacus+

    Spartacus+ Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    They need to focus on training aircraft which is more imp than LCA.
     
  5. Varad

    Varad Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    They have focussed on every aspects of LCA. This has not been the case with IJT. More research is required to make the trainer secure.
     
  6. MAFIAN GOD

    MAFIAN GOD Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Also increase the no. of engineers and scientists.
    Funding is not that much issue I guess.
     
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