HAL to sign orders for 73 copters, 106 trainers
Bengaluru, Feb 15 (IANS) State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) would soon sign orders for selling 73 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and 106 HTT-40 trainers to the armed forces, said a top official on Wednesday.
“We expect to sign the order for 73 ALH worth Rs 14,000 crore to the Services soon and order for 106 HTT-40 to the Indian Air Force (IAF) worth Rs 4,770 crore when ready for production,” HAL Chairman T. Suvarna Raju told reporters here.
The city-based defence behemoth has already delivered 231 ALHs to the Services since 2002 and has an order for 159 more from them.
HAL makes military (Rudra) and civil (Dhruv) variants of the 5-tonne twin-seater multi-utility chopper to meet the various needs of the air force, army and navy, including combat, utility, reconnaissance, transport and medical aviation.
The company also exported a few of the heavy choppers in both variants.
Though the IAF has already signed an order to buy 75 Swiss-made Pilatus PC-7 for basic training of its rookie pilots, HAL has designed, developed the Hindustan Turbo Trainer (HTT-40) to replace its HPT-32 Deepak trainers the air force phased out.
“The indigenously designed and developed basic trainer aircraft has to complete stall and spin manouvre for certification. We plan to produce 100 of them initially,” said Raju on the margins of the biennial Aero India 2017 expo at the IAF’s Yalahanka base.
The city-based aerospace major has flown the tandem-seat HTT’s prototype on June 17, 2016, and built capacity to meet the IAF’s requirement, including its weaponisation.
With advanced features like zero-zero ejection seats and multi-function displays, the trainer can be adapted as a light attack aircraft. Its role includes basic flying training, aerobatics, instrument flying, navigation, night flying and close formation.
In the rotary wing segment, the company is waiting for orders to supply its multirole Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) to the IAF and the army as the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared 15 of them, including 10 to IAF and five to the Army.
As a derivative of the ALH platform, the 5.5-tonne combat copter was certified by the defence regulator Cemilac on October 16, 2015, after extensive performance trials in all weather conditions.
Known for its agility, the tandem twin-seat chopper is equipped for day-and-night combat operations, with digital camouflage system for stealth actions.
The DAC has recently cleared the IAF order for an additional 83 Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Mark-1A worth Rs 50,000 crore.
“The government has recently sanctioned Rs 1,000 crore to ramp up our production capacity for rolling out 16 Tejas fighters every year from eight currently,” the official said.
As per the agreement, the air force and navy will each share 25 per cent of the investment while the company (HAL) will invest the remaining 50 per cent.
The company has an order to produce and deliver 40 Tejas Mark-1 fighters to the IAF, including eight in the limited series production for IOC (initial operational clearance) and FOC (Final Operational Clearance).