HAL to Conduct Actuator Tests for LCA Mk1A and Mk2 at RCI Hyderabad


Abhinandan , Archit

7/22/20222 min read

Flight actuators are critical components of an aircraft. Actuators drive the primary control surfaces of an aircraft as well as other movable surfaces such as air brakes, landing gears, and fuel supply shut-off systems. Aero-grade actuators for primary control surfaces pose developmental challenges due to requirements of high loads, redundancy, etc. A flight actuation system is a complex network between the digital flight controls, pneumatic or electric actuators, associated power drives and mechanical interconnects.

American sanctions in the late 1990s in the aftermath of the Pokhran Nuclear Tests hindered aerospace development in India since many efforts were dependent on the anticipated American technological support. The Aeronautical Development Agency took up the task of indigenizing the flight control system actuators for LCA. Much like the National CLAW (Control LAW) Team, a committee was set up in May 1998 with participation of control system experts spanning the DRDO, ISRO, HAL and ADA. Vikram Sarabhai Space Research Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram was assigned with developing some of the flight critical components of the actuators under the name ‘Development and Advanced Linear Actuators (DALIA)’. ADA has enabled the productionisation of the indigenous primary actuators through a consortium approach of Private industries (Godrej & Boyce Mfg and MTAR, Hyderabad).

DALIA Actuator for the LCA Programme

Illustration of actuator locations and functions in a typical aircraft

In the case of LCA , actuators for Leading Edge Slats Actuators (LESA) shall be tested in RCI Hyderabad. The testing of Leading Edge Slat Actuators (onboard, mid-board and inboard) for LCA will be conducted on an on ground test set up at RCI, Hyderabad. According to the tender released , the LESA for the LCA consists of 2 Inboard Actuators (IB) , 2 Mid-board Actuators (MB) , 2 Outboard Actuators(OB) and a LESA control module.

The LESA system has been specially designed and built for testing all three LESA actuators IB,MB&OB. And this actuator test set will be used to connect and test the actuators meeting the specifications exactly to that of LCA actuators and these specifications are as per the design and build standard of this equipment. As discussed earlier the development of actuators are critical developments in an aerospace programme. Hence, these tests shall be crucial for the development of LCA AF Mk1A and Mk2's flight control systems.