HAL Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju the company’s order book of Rs 41,000 crore is very low for an aeronautical industry and hoped to book fresh orders soon. “We do have an order book today of Rs 41,000 crore, which is very very low for an aeronautical industry,” Raju said. He said “We have to only produce about about 35 Sukhoi-30 aeroplanes, that’s in the next three years and then there is nothing else left for us unless we start booking orders.”Stating that HAL is eagerly looking for 83 LCAs which has been cleared, Rajus said “otherwise there is no fixed wing aircraft production in the next five years to come.”
However, the basic trainer aircraft HTT-40 would start the stalling and spinning tests in the next 45 days and HAL would take a production decision by the beginning of next year, he said, adding that servicing contributes to about 20 per cent of HAL’s turnover while the manufacturing line is depleting. Raju was speaking at the Air Chief Marshal LM Katre memorial Lecture organised by Air Force Association,Karnataka, in association with HAL and Aeronautical Society of India. The lecture was delivered by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa.
Pointing out that HAL’s two visionary projects Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) were conceptualized during Air Chief Marshal Katre’s time,Raju said “today we are proud to state that LCA production line has started delivering the aircraft.” He said “45 Squadron has five aircraft and by the end of this year it will have 11. HAL is investing Rs 1,200 crore to enhance capacity of LCA production from eight per year to 16.”
“In addition we have adopted a concept of contracting higher modules of the aircraft to the Indian Industry. If the industry starts delivering these modules like front fuselage, center fuselage and rear fuselage, it adds to the capacity of HAL of 16 aeroplanes per year, plus 8 so that we could deliver 24 LCA aircraft per year to the Indian Air Force,” he added.
Raju also said HAL is parallely working on other variants along with Aeronautical Development Agency and particular developments that are required by the customer- ease of maintenance modifications- refueling probe and AESA radars. “We are working on it… in the next 18 to 24 months we will be able to demonstrate to our customer on LCA and the product would be delivered in numbers,” he added. Noting that on the upgrades part Jaguar DARIN-III was close to its Final Operational Clearance (FOC), Raju said “may be this month we should be concluding that.”
HAL would also get AESA radars for the Jaguar fleet, which is being modified under DARIN-III, he said. On the Dornier 228 civilian aircraft, Raju said it had just flown last month and HAL would be ready give this either on a purchase or a dry lease from December onwards “We are having discussions with various operators for regional connectivity,” he said.