A file photo of Tejas using its brake parachute systems while landing.
By Anantha Krishnan MBangalore: India has become self-reliant in designing and manufacturing brake parachutes used in various fighter jets being operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF), claimed scientists at the Agra-based Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE). In addition, heavy drop parachutes for transport aircraft, recovery chutes for unmanned platforms and ejection seat chutes have also gone the desi way, thanks to efforts of ADRDE, a DRDO lab.
Express News Service
Express News Service
Speaking to Express, ADRDE director Dr S C Sati stated that in the last 10 years over 10 lakh different parachutes were delivered to the IAF by Indian industries, via the transfer of technology (ToT) route. “Today, brake parachutes used in Su-30 MKI, Jaguar, Tejas, Hawk, MiG 29 and MiG 27 are all made in India. We have recently designed a 30 sqm area cluster of five parachutes for heavy drop systems in P-16. Almost all the IAF assets are now using Indian parachutes, thereby reducing the important content. It has been a silent march towards total self-reliance,” Sati said.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis, parafoil analysis and wind-tunnel tests are done before the realisation of a chute. “It's a very critical, yet less-talked about feature of all fighter jets. The parachutes will have to also open outside the wake penetration area of an aircraft,” Sati said. Normally a parachute is released 1-1.5 seconds after the pilot gives the command. In Tejas, it is the spring-activated mechanism that comes to play, while in Su-30 MKI, it is a cartridge firing system that goes live, soon after the aircraft lands. The Tejas chute weighs around 5 kg and for Sukhoi it is 15 kg. “The landing speed of the aircraft matters and the chutes are designed accordingly. A Sukhoi lands at 320 km/hour, while Tejas lands around 270 km/hour. The type of parachutes vary according to aircraft,” he said.
Ejection seat parachutes designed by ADRDE are being used in Jaguars, Kirans, MiGs and Sea Harriers, while the recovery systems are part of unmanned missions undertaken by Lakshya and Nishant. Currently, the scientists are developing crew capsule recovery parachutes for India's space programmes. “The design validation process with appropriate ground test are progressing at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory in Chandigarh. It's a new area for us as the crew module has to be stable while landing. We have to ensure that the initial shock should not be very heavy, the speed reduction should be slow and limited to the human capability. The idea is to stabilise the crew module,” Sati said.
For Navy, ADRDE is developing chutes that drop torpedoes from IL-38, an operation that demands flawlessness. “The release mechanism dictates that the entry of a torpedo into water should be at an appropriate angle. It should not hit the water surface with great speed. Currently the fabric material improvements are going on,” he added.
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