As a deal to acquire amphibious plane US-2 from Japan seems to have stuck in a whirlpool, India has quietly started working to build its own Seaplane.
Government-owned HAL has taken a lead to design and develop the amphibian aircraft around its multi-role Do-228 aircraft which is considered the backbone of the Macy’s transport fleet.
The HAL has floated an RFI (Request For Information) seeking partnership for design and development of such an aircraft.
“Under Make in India initiative, HAL intends to design and develop a Seaplane version of HAL built Do-228 aircraft. Towards this, HAL-TAD Kanpur invites information, from reputed design agencies or manufacturers only, for consultancy or to partner in design and development of an HAL built Do-228 aircraft to a Seaplane version,” the RFI said.
“The HAL started working on the project in October 2015 ? a year after India and Japan announced negotiations on the US-2 ? when HAL quietly called the attention of global airframers and design houses,” defence news blog Livefist quoted sources in the company as saying.
Three aeronautical engineers from HAL’s Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) in Bengaluru presented a paper at the Aero India Seminar month titled ‘Conceptual Design of Amphibious Aircraft’.
The paper, offered what HAL described as ‘An optimized design approach addressing key features like hydrostatic stability, dynamic stability, wave handling, and water performance is conceptualised with due care for aerodynamic characteristics and overall performance figures, the report said.
A fleet of over 100 Do-228 aircraft currently fly with the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard, with more on order. HAL is also set to unveil a civilian version of the aircraft later this year.
The disclosure about the project comes at time when the deal for US-2 amphibians is no where near to conclusion due to several issues, including the cost of the aircraft.