India's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) is planning to fly its Saras light twin pusher turboprop by October, 17 years after the 14-seat multi-mission aircraft was launched.

The Saras programme, which started as an Indo-Russian joint venture, has suffered numerous delays since its launch in 1986. Ilyushin pulled out of the joint venture due to a lack of funds and an 18-month stoppage resulted from a US probe into potential military applications for the aircraft's US-manufactured propellers and avionics.

The project is funded jointly by India's Technology Development Board, ministry of civil aviation and Hindustan Aeronautics. The first aircraft was rolled out in February and a second prototype has been built.

Source: Flight International