The government has said it is scouting private partners to fulfil its plans to design and develop an indigenous medium-range civilian transport aircraft.

“We are looking for private partners for the ambitious billion-dollar project to develop a medium-range civilian transport aircraft,” Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan told reporters on the sidelines of the 2nd Global Industrial R&D Conclave here.

He said the government had already set up a 15-member high-power committee headed by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief G. Madhavan Nair to prepare a feasibility report on development of the 80-100 seater aircraft.

The National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) institute, has been tasked to lead the national effort to develop the civilian aircraft.

There have been a couple of attempts to develop a regional transport aircraft earlier, but officials claim that this time round the project has been taken up on mission mode.

“The Nair-led committee has been asked to submit its report within a year and a decision would follow soon after,” Chavan said.

The government has recognised the need for such an indigenous civilian aircraft with 100 seater capacity for passenger service or freight service of equivalent capacity, Nair had said after the first meeting of the core members of the committee in Bangalore on May 8.

The full-fledged committee will meet on May 27 to work out the modalities, including the type of aircraft to be developed, the infrastructure required and the development cycle from design to manufacturing the aircraft in large numbers in partnership with the industry.

The NAL will be the main agency to implement the project in association with state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).