The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon be getting 73 Advanced Light Helicopters and 106 HTT-40 trainers from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).
Announcing this at a press meet on Wednesday, HAL chairman & MD T Suvarna Raju said, “We expect to sign the order for 73 ALHs worth R14,000 crore to the services soon and order for 106 HTT-40 to the Indian Air Force (IAF) worth R4,770 crore when ready for production.”
“The indigenously-designed and developed basic trainer aircraft has to complete stall and spin manoeuvre for certification. We plan to produce 100 of them initially,” he said.
The CMD also said that the first phase of the upgrade contract of the SU-30 MKI twin-engine fighter jet between India and Russia is expected to be confirmed soon.
“The Su-30MKI upgrade programme-related contract will be concluded in 90 days,” he said. It will be done in two phases. Phase 1 will be concluded in 90 days; however, he did not specify the details of the upgrade.
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-7s for basic training of its rookie pilots, HAL has designed and developed the Hindustan Turbo Trainer (HTT-40) to replace its HPT-32 Deepak trainers that the air force phased out. Based on the IAF’s requirements, HAL has flown the tandem-seat HTT’s prototype last June and built capacity to meet the IAF’s requirement, including its weaponisation.
According to Raju, 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 the IAF and five to the army.
As a derivative of the ALH platform, the 5.5-tonne combat copter was certified by defence regulator CEMILAC on October 16, 2015, after extensive performance trials in all weather conditions.
Responding to a question, the HAL chairman said that the DAC has recently cleared the IAF order for an additional 83 Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Mark-1A worth R50,000 crore. “The government has recently sanctioned R1,000 crore to ramp up our production capacity for rolling out 16 Tejas fighters every year from eight currently.”