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Aero India 2023: CSIR-NAL showcases Saras-Mk II multirole aircraft

A scale model of CSIR-NAL's Saras-Mk II multirole commuter aircraft at Aero India 2023. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL) has showcased a scale model of a new variant of its Saras multirole commuter aircraft at Aero India 2023, being held in Bangalore from 13 to 17 February.

The Saras-Mk II features a high wing and turboprop engines mounted on wings in tractor configuration as opposed to a low wing and pusher engine configuration on the baseline Saras. The new variant, which also has a pressurised cabin, is indigenously designed to meet the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) troop transport requirement.

The aircraft is intended to serve both civil and military purposes. It provides regional connectivity as well as capability to transport cargo and troops to high-altitude areas.

Abhay A Pashilkar, director of NAL, told Janes that Saras-Mk II “has a reconfigurable cabin to be used for carrying troops or casualty evacuation, and has the ability to operate from 90% of the airfields marked under the regional connectivity scheme by the Indian government”.

The aircraft, which is operated by two crew members in its standard version, can carry a maximum of 19 passengers or equipped troops. If a lavatory and attendant are included, 18 passengers can be carried, and 12 passengers in the VIP version. In its casualty evacuation version, four beds can be included, along with four seats for attendants. For easy movement of patients and cargo, a cargo door of 1.2×1.45 m is provided on the port side at the rear of the fuselage.

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