Monday, February 26, 2018

Saras taking wing

Encouraging reports after the second test flight of the indigenous light aircraft Saras would point to the wisdom of reviving the project that had come close to being abandoned after a prototype had crashed eight years ago.

Hopefully the shortcomings have been rectified and the design upgraded ~ there is little point in trying to project unrealistic success stories ~ so that the National Aerospace Laboratory’s effort will bear fruit in the shape of commercial production.

There would be little point in thinking merely in terms of production for the armed forces, paramilitary and other sections of the “captive market”. With regional connectivity the current “buzz”, the projection of the Saras as costing 20-25 per cent less than an imported equivalent does raise exciting prospects.

As the civil aviation network reaches out to smaller towns, a 19-seater plane does cater to a certain space waiting to be filled. Provided, of course, that the plane actually competes with equivalents on the international market, and the courage is displayed not to try and push sales on the grounds of “patriotism”, “self-reliance”, or in the present climate, proof of the present government doing more than its predecessor with its emphasis on “make in India.”
The future of the Saras heavily depends on how efficiently it will perform, its cost-effectiveness, and whether the paying-passenger “accepts” it. The days of unviable products being shoved down the throat of official agencies are over. It was that obsolete attitude that had made “socialism” a dirty word, and had prevented public sector agencies from coming up with products that buyers willingly accepted. The story of the HS-748 needs no repetition, nor indeed that of the Dornier 228 ~ the production units never kept pace with advancing technologies, in much the same way that Ambassador and Premier cars drove themselves off the market.
26/02/18 Statesman
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