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Aero India 2023

India, US to jointly develop storm aircraft

A tropical cylone that hit India's East coast caused at least one death in Bangladesh and sank four fishing boats in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday, November 13, 2002. NASA photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): India will soon have an aircraft to study the phenomenon of storms. The aircraft would be jointly developed by India's Department of Earth Sciences and National Centre for Atmospheric Research of US.

Officials announced that the aircraft would fly into the eye of the storm and would help in forecasting cyclones. Both India and the US have been affected by the ferocity of storms originating from the seas.

It is expected to be ready by 2011. Scientists from several countries in the world chase storms to find out if they could be predicted with more accuracy and precision to avoid widespread damage they cause to life and property.

Agencies quoted director of the Indo-US science and technology forum Arabinda Mitra as saying that the aircraft to surf the storm will give adequate warning of its path and intensity.

The technology forum met in Hyderabad recently where the project was discussed. India has been particularly concerned about frequent cyclones that hit its coastal areas resulting in considerable damage.

The National Disaster Management Authority wanted a credible mechanism through which such damages could be contained. It had proposed the government to acquire an aircraft that could go into the eye of the storm to gather critical data tracking its intensity and land fall.

Ultra light aircraft is used for entering the storm. An aircraft that can take on the storm has to be specially built. The conventional aircraft, both civil and transport versions change their flight paths when they encounter storms. Under the international flying guidelines, pilots are told to stay clear of hurricanes, cyclones and thunderstorms as they can cause serious structural damages to aircraft.

But specially designed flying machines modeled on drones can be sent deep inside the fast moving mass of air to measure its intensity and direction. Storm chasers work relentlessly all over the world for better understanding of the phenomenon. In India, the activity is restricted as only the government agencies and institutions were involved in the exercise.

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