PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI) flew the CN-235 Flying Test Bed (FTB) for the first time from Bandung's Husein Sastranegara Airport, Friday (23/8). The move is a marker of optimizing the development of the multipurpose propeller aircraft.
The reason is that the company will present an update of both the system and variant of the aircraft produced including gunship features. PTDI will finalize it before the aircraft is sold in bulk through the FTB facility.
According to PTDI President Director, Elfien Goentoro, the presence of FTB cannot be separated from the CN-235 market which is still wide open. Population, 284 aircrafts from the CASA-IPTN cooperation have spread throughout the world. The aircraft made its first flight in 1983.
To seize that opportunity, they carried out a transformation by completing it through the FTB facility. "Our main focus is in producing turboprop in the world at this time in the world," Elfien said while mentioning that his party was currently working on four similar aircraft units.
PTDI’s Production Director, M. Ridlo Akbar added, the presence of the FTB was a part of an effort to respond to the dynamics of aircraft technology given the increasingly developed aircraft system. They also built the FTB based on the initial variant of the propeller aircraft namely CN-235-10 to CN-235-220.
Updates to avionics systems such as communication, pilot control systems, or navigation are carried out. "By utilizing the FTB, we will also build a CN-235 gunship version, and equip the aircraft with flares to avoid attacks. All of them we tested with FTB especially the operational impact (use of weapons), "he explained.
For gunship, Ridlo Akbar said that Thailand had expressed interest. They once sent a request for aircraft equipped with weapons. Not only that, he also ordered the Navy's order to use the latest avionics system. "So, this product is CN-235 modernized. Moreover, this aircraft has a number of advantages, as a reconnaissance, patrol and attacker, "he explained.
In the first flight, FTB was piloted by Captain Adi Budi Atmoko and Captain Zulda Hendra. Take off around 10:35, the plane with the body shades of red and white airs about half an hour.
Like when it started to fly, the applause of appreciation from employees blared once the CN-235 FTB did a fly pass then landed smoothly and headed straight for the hangar.