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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG.

After IAF placed orders worth $2.5 billion with Airbus-TATA for the procurement of 56 C295 aircraft to replace the Indian Air Force (IAF) legacy AVRO fleet, state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has started work on upgrading company-owned AVRO aircraft often called by its nickname ” ‘Subroto'” with its internal funds after it got the cold shoulder from IAF on its proposed Avro upgrade program for 50 odd aircraft that still have 60-70% of its airframe (Technical) life left.

idrw.org has been told that Subroto in Phase-I will be getting a new ‘glass cockpit’ that will replace all analog systems in the aircraft with the added addition of new sensors. Subroto will get a reworked avionics suite that includes the following new systems: integrated standby instruments, a dual flight management system (FMS), a dual-engine data concentrator unit, a dual attitude and heading reference system, a dual digital air data computer, and an engine indication and crew alerting system. Optional equipment will include a surveillance/weather radar, forward-looking infrared, and video cameras.

Subroto in Phase-II will see replacement of its present Rolls-Royce RDa.7 Dart Mk 536-2 turboprop engines that were developed in the early ’50s with a Modern Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system equipped turboprop engines. HAL plans to issue RFI to International OEMs that will be keen to supply turboprop engines but this process might take 3-4 years before re-flight certification trials can start.

AVRO fleet in IAF has been underutilized due to lack of a ramp, due to which it was often deputed in transport of VVIP/VIP or Troop Movement since its induction in the ’50s. Since AVRO is based on a Commercial Civilian aircraft most of the fuselage and airframe of the aircraft were designed to cater to have high flying time due to which it has 1 lakh flight hours for each aircraft.

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