Ruag has outstanding technological capabilities on the ground, in the air and in space. Today about 8,000 committed and skilled staff at the production locations in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, France, Austria, Hungary, Australia and the United States are driving forward the technologies of tomorrow. In India, Ruag Aviation, makers of Dornier 228 new generation aircraft, have joined hands with the Tata Group to bring to India the best of technologies. In an interview with SP’s Aviation, Thomas K. Schilliger, General Manager Dornier 228 and Military Aviation Germany and Martin Buehlmann, Vice President Supply Chain Management, Ruag Aviation, talks about the company’s plan for India providing full life-cycle support for the Dornier 228.
SP’s Aviation (SP’s): How does the Tata Group fit into this scheme of things?
Ruag:The two companies of the commercially operated Tata Group—TTL and TASL—already have a very successful track record in the aviation industry, mainly with respect to aerostructures. Due to their reliability and experience in the industry, they are ideal partners to support our supply chain. RUAG procures aerostructural shipsets from the Tata Group.
SP’s: What kind of special missions can the aircraft undertake which are unique to this aircraft?
Ruag: The Dornier 228-212NG is best suited for maritime policing and special missions; particularly maritime patrol, border patrol, pollution surveillance, anti-piracy patrol, search and rescue coordination. The unique ability for the Dornier 228-212NG to undertake such a range of operations is due to the combination of its key functions: first and foremost, its wide speed range, fast cruising speed allowing it to reach areas to be observed rapidly, then low loitering / observation speed to detect small moving targets over water, mountains and dessert; secondly, the outstanding endurance of more than 8 hourson station duty time, with relaxing room for the crew. Overall, the Dornier 228-212NG is highly adaptable and allows the integration any type of sensors in the spacious rectangular and unpressurised fuselage with ease. With a state-of-the-art glass cockpit installed with sensors and the mission crew in the cabin to be able to prepare fast decisions, all in all combined with operational availability, highest reliability, a fuel saving, environmental-friendly engine and the life-cycle support RUAG guarantees.
SP’s: One key important aspect of aviation is low operational costs. Could you give specific examples of how this has been brought down for the benefit of military customers?
Ruag: From the start, the Dornier 228 was designed to save cost for the operators. This aspect has been incorporated in the design of the most modern and efficient wing in its class of aircraft. Furthermore, quick configuration change ability of the cabin, such as to adapt the aircraft for the next flight from cargo; to transport of forces; to patrol missions, in other words the versatility of the Dornier 228-212NG provides a wide spectrum of operation possibilities with only one type of aircraft in the fleet. The newer sensors integrated in the Dornier 228-212NG combined with the high stamina in the air can adequately replace uneconomical, older and larger aircraft, thus significantly reducing the operational cost for its operators.
SP’s: What is RUAG Aviation showcasing at Aero India and specific reasons for showcasing the same?
Ruag: We present the Dornier 228-212NG — its capabilities and benefits—to the Indian aviation world, which includes civil operators, aviation authorities as well as Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard.
SP’s: As RUAG Aviation has partnerships in India, already reflecting the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ vision, how does RUAG plan to enhance this further?
Ruag: RUAG Aviation has already signed MoUs with TASL Hyderabad for the manufacture of the shipsets for the structure of Dornier 228-212NG aircraft, along with TTL Pune for digitisation and TAL Nagpur for manufacturing Airbus parts.
SP’s: Where does India fit in the supply chain management for RUAG Aviation? How much (percentage wise) of military aviation products/services are sourced from India?
Ruag: Since the Dornier 228-212NG is an EASA certified aircraft, it can be operated by airlines and military or paramilitary divisions. Therefore, the sourcing of civil and military aerostructures from India are of equal importance. The percentage of the green aircraft (the aircraft before the specific additions are built-in) sourced from India is around 20 per cent.
SP’s: Could you talk about your presence in Asia? Which are the other markets you are focusing on in the region?
Ruag: We are serving the worldwide market with the Dornier 228-212NG focused on maritime patrol/policing demand of the governments and NGOs. We are presently building up and enforcing our presence in Asia with partners in preparation for the future and to ensure we provide our best services to our customers. The Asian market in particular shows an upcoming demand of special mission aircraft for maritime patrol, border patrol, pollution control and to protect the exclusive economic zone. In parallel, there is a demand for replacement of the older, uneconomical and un-environmentally-friendly aircraft in favour of smaller and more cost-efficient aircraft in the size category of the Dornier 228-212NG.