New Delhi: The Indian Air Force’s main training facility, the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), will welcome the private sector. Before being incorporated into the Air Force, the institute tests aircraft, airborne systems, and weapons in flight. ASTE also functions as a “flying lab” testing system for private businesses. Even if the designed systems are not manufactured in India, ASTE will assist private companies in marketing their systems abroad.
Its history as an ordnance testing unit at Kanpur began in 1948, and it was formally created as the Aircraft and Armament Testing Unit at Kanpur in 1957. On August 23, 1972, the organisation changed its name to the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, and in 1973 it relocated to Bangalore to HAL’s temporary hangar. In order to be included in user organisations, ASTE analyses aircraft and systems. For the majority of new aircraft models and significant avionics systems, ASTE certification is necessary before they can be used in India.
The fourth-largest Air Force in the world’s Test Pilot School is located at ASTE, the fifth institute in the world. Since its foundation, the institute has served the Armed Forces, but it is now prepared to welcome the commercial sector, including start-ups. This is being done in order to advance the Government of India’s “AtmaNirbhar” initiative. According to their strategic value to the armed services, private business or laboratories will be given the responsibility of testing and validating airborne and armament systems by ASTE.
According to an ASTE representative, since this organisation is India’s seasoned and widely respected flight testing authority, numerous defence start-ups have recently turned to ASTE for advice on matters connected to flight testing and certification.
The presence of such an indigenous institution within the nation, according to Commandant Air Vice Marshal J Mishra, ASTE, is a significant boost to the government of India’s “AtmaNirbhar” project. According to him, R&D, certification, and production are all necessary for the development of an avionics system, and flight testing is one of these steps.
Prior to being accepted by the IAF, the same institute tested Rafale fighter jets as well as indigenous light combat aircraft. Here, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft and the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile or the Astra air-to-air missile have both been tested. The beyond visible range air-to-air missile as well as all other aircraft and systems are tested by the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment.