Technology indigenously developed by a government laboratory for manufacturing carbon components will make India’s light combat aircrafts 20% lighter.
The technology developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Aerospace Laboratory (CSIR-NAL) uses indigenously developed carbon fibre, which is pre-impregnated with the organic polymer ‘resin’, to make complex parts like fin, rudder, wing spars and fairings in a single mould.
“For making the composite material, this pre-impregnated carbon fibre is autoclaved or treated under extreme heat and temperature. The autoclaving technology has also developed by our lab,” said Jitendra Jadhav, director of CSIR-NAL.
“The material is then moulded into complex components of the aircraft. This reduces the number of parts used in the aircraft as well as the number of fasteners needed to assemble it,” he said.
The use of the complete home-grown technology will reduce the number of parts of the light combat aircraft by 40%, the number of fasteners by 50%, and the time on the assembly line by 30%.
The composite technology is critical of the fourth generation fighter aircraft.
“The composite material is sturdier than aluminium, more heat resistant, the wear and tear is less and corrosion,” said Jadhav. The laboratory has received an order for 20 sets of parts for the aircrafts worth more than ~100 crore from the government owned aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). CSIR-NAL has now transferred the technology to manufacturing partner Tata Advanced Materials Limited (TAML), Bengaluru. The project began with two technology demonstrator aircrafts and then five prototype aircrafts.
“It is a matter of pride that India’s light combat aircraft – Tejas – has one of the highest percentage deployment of composites among contemporary aircrafts of its class anywhere.
And, this project is a major achievement of CSIR and highlights its commitment towards ‘Make in India’ initiative,” said Dr Girish Sahni, director general of CSIR.