India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be procuring an Ex-Air India, Airbus A319 to be used as an Inhouse flying Testbed aircraft for various Airborne Radar programs for the Indian military said a report prepared by the Delhi Defence Review. Uttam AESA and AWACS Program including Navy’s Multimission Maritime Aircraft Senior suite program are some of the initial programs that will be using A319 as testbed.

DRDO use to lease a Business jet from Commercial Airplane lessors to be used as flying Testbed initially for the Uttam AESA program. DRDO also had used the services of Hawker Siddeley HS 748 as a flying Testbed for ELTA/MMR Hybrid Radar that has been developed for the Tejas Mk1 Program. has been informed that leasing and modification of the commercial jet with crew requires too much paper works and turns out to be expensive in long term. DRDO has been advocating having its in-house flying Testbed for some time now with the Government. HS 748 has its service ceiling limitations so the testing of radars at higher altitudes is not possible on them and using A319 as a flying testbed could mean that, labs can obtain better data, faster than ever before, and technologies will be tested at higher altitudes and faster speeds. Flying testbeds are used to conduct altitude testing and monitor technologies in-flight conditions. explained informed source to

HAL also plans to have company-owned Sukhoi-30MKI as a flying Testbed that can be used for testing various indigenous weapons and also for the Super-30 upgrade program for the Su-30MKI fleet. GTRE a DRDO Lab also has been advocating DRDO to have a company-owned Mig-29 or Sukhoi-30MKI to be used as Testbed aircraft for its engine programs.

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