Someone pointed out how it cost Gillette more than $750 million to develop its Mach3 series of razor blades. While India was developing entire automotive programmes like Mahindra Scorpio or Tata Nano in less than $500 million. Or better still, aircraft development.
India’s National Aerospace Laboratory or NAL has said it needs Rs 7,555 crore ($1.67 bn) to develop a new 90-seater passenger aircraft. Of this, Rs 4,355 crore ($967 m) would be for design and development while Rs 3,200 crore ($711 m) would be for `series production’ phase.
The NAL also anticipates that private sector will be involved in both phases, India’s Minister of State for Science and Technology Ashwani Kumar said this week. The project is to still get the money from Government.
Question Of Flight
Now this is not a new idea and has been floating around for more many years. And then there is the other 14-seat light transport aircraft project – Saras. One aircraft crashed and the project ground to a halt but was announced as revived with a 2013 target for certification. There is also the collaboration with the Mahindras – of the Scorpio jeep fame – for the 5-seater NM5-100. The aircraft is expected to start certification flights this year.
But the question obviously is, should India embark on such a project at all, however economical it may seem in relative terms. Yes, there is the Brazilian Embraer to look up to, but full-fledged commercial aviation. Well, it’s a question.