Friday, October 06, 2023

Strengthening Military Airworthiness and Certification for a Self-Reliant India

In the realm of aviation, the fundamental principle is that “An aircraft is airworthy if it conforms to its Type Design and if it is in a condition for safe flight.”

However, Rear Admiral Janak Bevli, ACNS (Air) during a panel discussion on Thursday emphasized the inevitability of occasional failures and errors in complex machinery. Therefore, how imperative it becomes to strike a balance between safety, cost, and practicality when setting airworthiness standards.

The ACNS (Air) was part of a distinguished panel which consisted of Adm KB Singh (Retd), Sqn Ldr Sameer Joshi (NewSpace Research & technologies), S Rangarajan (CMD, Data Patterns), Cdr Rahul Verma (Retd) (Technical Manager, TASL) and Dr Shirish Kale (CEMILAC).

An aviation session on “Challenges and Road Map to Certification and Qualification of Indigenous Systems” was held during the 2nd Edition of the Indian Navy’s Naval Innovation and Indigenization (NIIO) Seminar – ‘Swavlamban 2023’ from Oct 4 – 5, 2023.

All the speakers dwelled that ‘No machine can be built which never fails ‘or’ No human could be found who never commits error.’ Consequently, all modes of transportation have to tolerate a certain amount of risk or lack of safety. The ‘level of safety’ becomes a complex concern when formulating standards because achieving absolute safety is hypothetical and can only be realized at an infinite cost. Therefore, the airworthiness standards need to strike a balance between safety concerns, cost, and practicability from a design and manufacturing perspective.

A fundamental difference between civil and military airworthiness and certifications lies in the fact that military aircraft designs often incorporate technologies that are not yet proven to their maturity to gain a slight edge over their contemporaries. In contrast, civil airworthiness primarily focuses on passenger comfort and safety, while its military counterpart prioritizes the completion of mission tasks as the primary design driver, with safety levels determined through agreements between manufacturers and users (defense services) was clearly emphasized by the chair Adm KB Singh (Retd).

06/10/2023 Huma Siddiqui/Financial Express

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