HAL’s (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) HTT-40 is an indigenous basic trainer aircraft, whose inaugural flight was witnessed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today. The trainer aircraft’s flight comes as a shot in the arm for Narendra Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The two-seater aircraft was flown by Group Captain C Subramaniam and Group Captain Venugopal for about 10 to 15 minutes at the HAL Airport. Parrikar said while HAL would supply HTT-40 to defence forces, it would be permitted for certain percentage of export.
Why is the trainer aircraft important? What’s special about the HTT-40? How will the Indian Air Force (IAF) benefit from it? We take a look at 10 facts about HAL’s basic indigenous trainer aircraft:
1) The aircraft, the prototype of which was rolled out in January, is aimed at being used for the first stage training for all flying cadets of the three services. HTT-40 has been designed not only to meet the current requirement of the Indian Air Force but also it has provision for role expansion to include weapons for the trainer aircraft.
2) HAL launched the detail design of the aircraft by earmarking its internal resources in August 2013. The detailed design phase was completed in May 2015 and from there it has taken only one year to fly the first prototype.
3) The project includes many first time initiatives such as Digital Mock Up (DMU), real time systems clash analyses, laser tracking of assembly jigs, six degree of freedom, mathematical model, complete glass cockpit etc.
4) With advanced features like zero-zero ejection seats and multi-function displays, HTT-40 can also be adapted as a light attack aircraft. Its role includes basic flying training, aerobatics, instrument flying, navigation, night flying, close formation etc.
5) HTT-40 aircraft weighs about 2,800 kg and has Turbo Prop engine of 950 shp class.
6) While the HTT-40 programme was almost junked during UPA rule, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar went after both IAF and HAL to ensure development of the trainer. IAF has already committed to purchasing at least 70 aircraft.
7) According to HAL, the team behind HTT-40 programme is “young” with an average age of 29 when it started.
8) The programme aims to achieve its operational clearance by 2018, and towards this the company will be manufacturing three prototypes and two static-test specimens. Also work has started on the stall and spin tests campaign in order to meet the project timelines.
9) HAL chairman Raju said the programme has managed to glide through multiple headwinds and emerge successfully. He said till date the aircraft had completed seven flights. The aircraft on its third flight flew in heavy rains and successfully undertook wet runway landing.
10) According to HAL officials, the indigenous content on HTT-40 is close to 80% with about 75-plus systems out of the total 90 on the aircraft sourced from local players and sister divisions of HAL.
They said the role of private players and MSMEs had been significant in the production of parts and assembly jigs.
Almost 50% of the 4,000-odd components on HTT-40 are manufactured by private players.
(With inputs from PTI)