AERO INDIA: Diehl displays RTA-70 cabin mock-up

Bangalore
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A potential cabin for the proposed Indian Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA) is on display at the show, with Germany's Diehl Aerospace working with the National Aerospace Laboratories on the project.

The cabin mock-up features two seats, LED lights and standard cabin bins. It was constructed to NAL's specifications, says David Voskuhl, Diehl's vice-president communications and public relations. He was unable to provide the specifications for the cabin on display.

"This is a modernised version of a cabin that we did last year for NAL. This is not the finished product, but it is what it could look like if NAL goes ahead with the RTA," he adds. "This is also the first time that Diehl is doing something for the regional jet market. NAL is giving us the opportunity to put all of our company's various capabilities, such as interiors, lighting and cabins, into one project like this."

The RTA-70 was originally envisaged as a turboprop but NAL now says it could be powered by turbofan engines, with the government viewing it as a stepping stone to larger aircraft. The agency is in talks with Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Snecma and GE on potential powerplants for the aircraft.

NAL is to deliver a report to the government in April 2011, after which a decision will be made. The RTA-70 could be in service as soon as 2017, with the agency expecting Indian demand for regional aircraft to reach 250 by 2025 as airports in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities open up. There is also a potential demand for 150 military variants to replace the air force's An-32s.

There are likely to be two variants - a shorter one with 70-90 seats and longer one with 80-100 seats. The range will be 1,350nm (2,500km). The avionics are likely to be produced locally, including an indigenous fly-by-wire control system to save weight.

If the RTA-70 is developed as a jet, it could join a crowded field that includes Embraer's E-Jets, Bombardier's CSeries, Comac's ARJ21, Sukhoi's Superjet, and Mitsubishi's MRJ.