Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) is being readied for a public issue this financial year, as part of the government’s disinvestment programme, Towards this, the HAL board will be restructured later this year.
Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) is being readied for a public issue this financial year, as part of the government’s disinvestment programme, Towards this, the HAL board will be restructured later this year. The Maharatna PSU is setting up a greenfield facility near Tumakuru to manufacture light utility helicopters (LUHs) in the three-tonne class. The plan is to make military and civil variants of LUHs for the Indian and global markets. HAL’s chairman and managing director T Suvarna Raju speaks to Huma Siddiqui of FE about the company’s programmes. Excerpts:
Dorniers, considered the safest from HAL, are crashing. What plans have HAL got for modernising these aircraft?
Recently, there were two incidents involving the Dornier aircraft of the Navy and the Coast Guard. Both the accidents are under investigation and the causes of the accidents are yet to be established. There is no safety issue in operating the Dornier aircraft and all the customers are continuing to fly the aircraft. HAL is proposing modernisation of the Dornier aircraft through an engine/propeller change and introduction of new avionics systems. The company is in discussions with the customers for the same.
What is the update on the patents filed?
During the quarter (Q1), HAL filed seven patents and till date the total number of patents filed by HAL is around 1,100.
What is the status of the IJT?
The intermediate jet trainer (IJT) project of HAL is at an advanced stage of development. Post-stall testing, as per the BAe Systems study, it was required to increase the roll inertia by adding mass at the wing tips for achieving the desired spin characteristics. The required modifications have been carried out. The performance of the aircraft after modifications is satisfactory.
How is the production for light combat aircraft going on?
You are aware that the LCA Mk-1 aircraft received the Initial Operation Clearance in December 2013. In a short span, the first Series Production aircraft was handed over to the IAF on January 17, 2014. We have created a dedicated state-of-the-art LCA-Tejas Production Division. We are using an area of around 27,000 sq m, having assembly lines for production of eight aircraft per year, with four hangars already established. It is important to note that to ensure the stringent quality standards, we have established assembly jigs with advanced technology using ‘computer-aided measuring’ systems (laser trackers), a machine shop with the state-of-the-art CNC machines and 5-Axis CNC Wing Skin drilling machine (robotic drilling machine). At present, we have 20 aircraft orders for IOC (initial operational capability) standard, and 20 aircraft will be produced after completion of FOC (full operational capability.)
What maintenance practices are being adopted for the Jaguar and Su-30?
The first and second levels of maintenance for the Jaguar and Su-30 MKI aircraft are being carried out by the Indian Air Force. HAL is undertaking major servicing and overhaul of Jaguar and Su-30 MKI aircraft. HAL has established capacity for 15 Su-30 MKI and eight Jaguar aircraft for overhaul per annum. It is the only facility for overhauling Su-30 MKI in the world.