Indigenously designed basic trainer aircraft HTT-40 will take to the skies in the middle of 2015.
State-owned aircraft major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has gone ahead with the development programme even though its intended buyer explicitly stating that there was ‘no need for the aircraft’.
Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne had said that there was no need for turbo trainer project during Aero India 2013, where a full-scale mock-up of the HTT-40 was also displayed.
HAL undertook the programme after the grounding of HPT-32 (Deepak) trainers in 2009 due to increased instances of engine failures.
“The preliminary design phase of basic trainer, HTT-40 is already initiated at the Aircraft Research and Development Centre (ARDC)”, R K Tyagi, HAL chairman, told Express.
He said once the prototype was in the air, they would then start production of the aircraft.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has repeatedly expressed its disappointment over delayed projects by HAL. It was also reported that the IAF had suggested to the government to shelve the project as India had already finalised the procurement of 75 Swiss based Pilatus PC-7 aircraft.
“It is to be emphasised that the best of defence technologies cannot be purchased, they can only be developed and the Union Budget is a step in that direction,” he said.
The Air Force has been reeling under shortage of trainer aircraft for some time now and is currently making do with the Kiran aircraft, due to the delay in completion of the Intermediate Jet Trainer programme, also being developed by the HAL.