HYDERABAD: Global aircraft major Boeing is setting up a transonic wind tunnel facility in Hyderabad.
The facility, the first of its kind in the country and under ‘Defence offsets’, could involve an expenditure of Rs 400-450 crore.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will use the facility for its research studies. It is expected to come up in 3-4 years, according to Mr K.V.R. Murthy, Integrated Financial Advisor, DRDO.
A wind tunnel is an enclosure that is equipped to test the aerodynamic features of various aircraft shapes. It can also test space vehicles.
A transonic tunnel is a high-speed tunnel that can generate speeds up to Mach 1.4 (Mach is the speed of sound).
The Defence Ministry’s offset policy stipulates that a minimum of 30 per cent of the value of a large contract bagged by a foreign company or a consortium in Defence projects has to be sourced from lndia.
Boeing has the largest offset commitment in the country, according to Mr Dinesh S. Keskar, Senior Vice-President, Asia-Pacific & India sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
In a recent interaction with Business Line in Hyderabad, Mr Keskar said the company was active in the Defence and aerospace sectors and has collaborations with HAL, BEL, and the Tata group.
It is also looking at opportunities with companies that possess engineering expertise, such as Mahindras and L&T.
In the last five years Boeing has won a major contract to supply 68 aircraft to AirIndia. In 2009, the Government of India purchased eight Boeing P-81 long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft.
In June 2011, the Defence Ministry signed an agreement with the US Government to acquire 10 Boeing C17 Globemaster III airlifters. Some of these deals carry Defence offsets.
The DRDO is also in the process of setting up its own Rs 350-crore Hypersonic Wind Tunnel facility, also in Hyderabad.
At present the country has only one wind tunnel facility at the National Aerospace Laboratory,Bangalore, which is 40 years old. This will also be upgraded, Mr Murthy said.