Bengaluru : While Indian Air Force’s most formidable fighter jet Su-30MKI for the first time equipped itself with 2.5 tonne Brahmos supersonic cruise missile returned recently after hitting test target, the intervention by National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) that saved Indian teams more that Rs. 1200 cr went largely unnoticed.
Back in 2013-14, India approached Russia for a series of wind-tunnel tests that precede attaching the cruise missile onto Su-30 MKI. Russian handed out a quote of Rs. 1300 crore with no commitment to transfer on technology.
Faced with the mammoth pricing, the team comprising BrahMos, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd(HAL) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) then turned NAL for help.
NAL, widely experienced in wind-tunnel experiments or ‘drop tests’ for various military and space missions agreed to carry out the tests.
In Drop Tests, the missile model is dropped in the wind tunnel that stimulates aircraft speed, altitude and other parameters after which separation trajectories are analysed.
The success of this virtual test is crucial to go ahead with actual feat.
NAL’s wind tunnel results perfectly matched results of actual flight and the tests and analysis made during tunnel tests impressed even Russians.
Incidentally, NAL conducted the tunnel tests for just 120th the Russian cost