The 2018 was significant as CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories continued to make important contributions towards sustained development in aerospace, strategic and social sectors for the country in spite of several challenges. It is the combination of individual excellence and team work that makes the organisation great. During the year 2018, team CSIR-NAL has realized a number of significant achievements that I wish to share with you as we begin this New Year 2019.
The most notable achievement of the laboratory during 2018 was the new upgraded versions of SARAS, the indigenous transport aircraft developed by NAL, “successfully” made its maiden flight on 24th January 2018 in Bengaluru. Continued with the success of first flight, SARAS was successfully test flown for the second time on 21st February 2018. Dr. Harsh Vardhan Hon’ble Union Minister for S&T, and VP CSIR along with DG, CSIR witnessed the second flight and highly appreciative of effort put in by the entire team of NAL, ASTE, DGAQA, CEMILAC and HAL in reviving the project after nearly nine years. Further, a study was taken up to come out with 19-pax version of SARAS sufficing all regulatory requirements of a Light Transport Aircraft (LTA). Different seating accommodation in terms of relocation of seats, luggage and lavatory compartments were explored within the existing fuselage shell. Final configurations with variable 17-19 seats with minimal or no change in basic airframe configuration were analysed. The proposal for implementation of the 19 seat – LTA project has been accorded “in-principle” approval by Government. We will also be taking forward PDP of development of Regional Transport Aircraft.
I am happy to share that during 2018, Hansa-NG project in collaboration with Mesco Aerospace has got approval from CSIR and progressing well. The project being implemented on cost and risk sharing model, with Mesco taking-up the responsibility of production, marketing and after sales service. NAL propose to fly the aircraft during Aero India 2019. Another milestone has been achieved in the history of National Trisonic Aerodynamic Facilities (NTAF) of CSIR-NAL during the year. The 1.2m x 1.2m trisonic wind tunnel has been serving the country as a nucleus of research and development in high speed aerodynamic since the last five decades has completed 50 glorious years of wind tunnel testing from 1967-2017.
CSIR-NAL continued to make important contributions towards furthering the “Make in India” National Mission of the Government of India. The laboratory’s contributions towards this mission has been spread across both civil and military aeronautics/aviation sectors. A great achievement was the contributions to the Mirage aircraft up-gradation programme of IAF. The studies related to safe release of stores for FOC using NAL’s mesh-free method, aero-mechanical load analysis, flutter clearance etc., have resulted in successful completion of FOC.
NAL’s significant contributions to major national programmes in strategic sector have enabled the strategic sector to achieve self-reliance. CSIR-NAL continued its support to the ADA’s LCA-Tejas programme. Composite Division of NAL continued to make contributions in the areas of design, fabrication and R&D of composite structures. For series production programme of LCA, all parts of fin, rudder and six centre fuselage parts are being produced at TAML under the Quality Assurance coverage. CSIR-NAL has also contributed to the ADA’s national programme on Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) in the areas of structural airframe design and analysis and design of forward retraction main landing gear (MLG). The other major contributions include development of 65 HP Wankel Rotary Combustion Engine for DRDO’s PANCHI. The engine was able to produce a maximum thrust of 102kgf @7450 rpm with the 1.1 m diameter flight propeller. The NAL developed carbon fibre obtained certification for aerospace grade by CEMILAC. MIDHANI will be taking up this technology for establishing 100 TPA carbon fibre plant. Wind tunnel tests were successfully carried out for aerodynamic data generation of typical missile and rocket configuration with various control surface for DRDL. During the year life extension studies on upgraded MiG-29 aircraft landing gears was successfully carried out. Failure analysis and accident investigation is one of the core/niche activities of the laboratory, a major contribution in the last year was related to failures of aircraft structures and aero-engine components/systems.
There have been other contributions in civil aeronautics / aviation furthering indigenous development. DRISHTI, an airport runway visibility assessor system developed by NAL has completed the land mark supply of 101 systems (47 systems to Civilian and 54 systems to Defence Airports). Following success, the Airport Weather Monitoring System (AWMS) developed by the laboratory has been installed at Mangalore International Airport in June 2017. During the previous year successful efforts were made to increase the endurance of mini UAV ‘SUCHAN’ to 90 minutes from 60 minutes by modifying wind span and incidence angle. In collaboration with CSIR-CIMFR, one case study of geo-spatial mapping of coal mining fields was carried out with SUCHAN.
The association of NAL with ISRO has always been mutually beneficial. During 2018, bulk of testing in 1.2 m wind tunnel was sponsored by ISRO in connection with generating qualitative and quantitative aerodynamic data for typical launch vehicles with various nose configurations with and without boundary layer grit. ATF has completed the acoustic qualification of the L40 Strapon Nosecone decks of all the four liquid strap-on’s of the GSLV MKII vehicle for the F08 mission. A subsystem of the Human in Space Programme (HSP) also underwent acoustic tests at ATF during the course of the year. Two major projects taken up i.e. SHAR autoclave and VSSC Autoclave fabrication are progressing well.
There are several CSIR-NAL contributions in the technology front especially in the project under Fast Track translation Projects. I am happy to share that many technologies have been transferred to industries for commercialization and taking the technologies to market. The achievements include: DHVANI & ABHIAS electronic target system to BEL; Aerospace Grade Autoclave to KRR Engineering; Multi-zone Hot Bonder for advanced in situ repair of aircraft structures to MSMEs namely Ajay Sensors & San Process Automation, MSMEs, ARINC 818 IP-Core and its customizations for display products to Paras Defence Services; Tapecasting Technology for Production of Ceramic Substrates to M/s CUMI, PZT powder technology to M/s IPA Pvt. Ltd., etc. I am also happy that the NAL’s external cash flow for the financial year 2017-18 was Rs.67.64 crore which is nearly 30% of the CSIR grant, a great effort by the laboratory to meet part of its expenditure from external earnings.
In line with the government’s emphasis on translating home grown technologies for societal benefits, CSIR-NAL’s performance in this area has been commendable. I am happy to inform that during the year NAL developed desktop autoclave to meet the expectations of academia and research institutions in establishing an affordable and low energy consumption has been transferred to two MSMEs namely M/s Datasol and M/s Milvus for production and marketing. Further, electrolyte formulation (NAL EPSS) for electropolishing of SS needles licensed to M/s Healthium Medtech, which will benefit the masses in government health sector. Under the FTT programme both the 10 and 20 kW WiSH systems were installed and commissioned during this year. Energy generated from the 10 kW WiSH system installed at NAL’s Renewable Energy Farm is fed to the substation at Kodihalli campus.
As we enter the new year, the new year will bring new challenges and new opportunities. Look forward to another year with hunger and passion to excel at work and we are sure to meet with success.
Jitendra J Jadhav
Last updated on : 04-01-2019 12:13:18pm