labels: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, News reports
HAL to manufacture NAL-designed, 14-seater passenger aircraft, Saras news
16 August 2008

Bangalore: Indian aerospace and defence manufacturing giant, the State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), will produce India's first passenger aircraft to be designed and manufactured in the country. HAL has received the unique privilege after it was chosen by launch customer, the Indian Air Force (IAF), over Indian private sector companies, such as Mahindra Aerospace and Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T).

The 14-seater, multi-role aircraft, Saras, will be the first passenger plane to be designed and manufactured in the country. Saras is a product of the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a state-run laboratory for civil aircraft design. So far, all aircraft design and manufacturing activity in the country has been conducted by HAL or the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and have been intended for military use.

Meanwhile, NAL was to opt between Mahindra Aerospace and L&T, which had been shortlisted as possible manufacturing partners for the Saras, following a tender in February. It is being given to understand that the IAF has now insisted that HAL manufacture the planes.

The Saras is meant to replace the IAF's ageing fleet of German-designed Dornier aircraft.

The IAF has apparently placed firm orders for 15 Saras aircraft, with options for another 20. It will use the aircraft for transporting VIPs, conducting aerial surveys and other functions.

HAL is likely to manufacture the Saras at its transport aircraft division in Kanpur. The Bangalore-headquartered, State-owned, firm is likely to sign a pact with NAL soon, HAL sources indicated.

The same sources also said that private industry would be involved in manufacturing parts and systems, but HAL would assemble the plane.

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HAL to manufacture NAL-designed, 14-seater passenger aircraft, Saras