The 14-seater Saras Mk1 (PT1N) is presently undergoing modifications to its cockpit layout and its cabin configuration so that it will be used as a Testbed aircraft for the development of the proposed 19- seater transport aircraft called Saras Mk2 for which National Aeronautics Laboratories (NAL), which is overseen by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) have sought additional Rs 100 crore of funds for its development from the Central Government.

CSIR-NAL has already started design realisation, life testing, and certification of Saras Mk2-19 seater aircraft, and the project is now heading towards detailed engineering and design. CSIR-NAL describes Saras Mk2 as Indigenous Next-Gen Commuter Transport Aircraft, which has utility to be used as local aircraft for the Government’s Udaan scheme for enhancing connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country.

IAF has committed to procure 15 aircraft for its fleet and CSIR-NAL sees demands for nearly 50-60 aircraft from the local regional airline companies once its enters production in 2025. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is the manufacturing partner for the Saras Mk2-19 seater aircraft, Interestingly, HAL also has started modification work on cabin configuration for its proposed 19 seater aircraft based on its Do-228 transport aircraft that is widely operated by the Indian Air force and Indian Navy.

Saras Mk2-19 seater aircraft is a clean-sheet design with the twin-turboprop high wing engine mounted in a tractor configuration that can be used for a variety of applications like air taxi, aerial search/survey, executive transport, disaster management, border patrol, coast guard, ambulance and other community services. 7.5-ton aircraft will have an endurance of 6.1 hours with a service ceiling of 30270ft with a max range of 728km with a max load of 19pax.

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