BENGALURU: The Bengaluru-headquartered defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which is celebrating its 75th year, is all set to start work on its new helicopter manufacturing plant near Tumakuru, around 70 km from the state capital.
“The Prime Minister, who is the driving force behind ‘Make in India’, will be here for the foundation laying ceremony on January 2,” said HAL Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju at a programme to mark the 75th year of the PSU.
Raju thanked the Government of Karnataka for grating 610 acres in Tumakuru. HAL will be building its light utility helicopter, the naval multi-role helicopter and Indian multi-role helicopter at the plant.
Going with the ‘Make in India’ concept, HAL has planned to become completely indigenous in the coming years by building and designing aircrafts. The HAL Board has cleared `458 crore for this purpose, said Raju. He added that the firm is keen to increase its production from eight aircrafts to 16 per year.
HAL is also developing a 60-80 seater regional transport aircraft which can be used for connecting small towns in India.
HAL for the 2014-15 financial year had a turnover of $2.6 billion, informed Raju.
“We have an order for 40 Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) and efforts are in place to obtain the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) by the end of 2015. Steps are also taken towards developing the LCA Mk II version which will have a higher powered engine and HAL is expecting orders from IAF for the same,” said Raju.
The first flight of Light Utility Helicopter PT1 is expected in next few days and operational clearance of the basic version is expected by the end of year 2016. “HAL has also received an order for 20 Cheetal helicopters from the Indian Army, which is being executed now. The Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) has also completed 980 test flights and we plan to get get its operation clearance during 2015-16,” the CMD added.
Mini Air Show
Most aircraft and helicopters including the LCA and the Hawk built by HAL took part in a flying display to mark the 75-year celebrations. The mini air show was essentially for the employees and their families. Even retired employees enjoyed the show at the PSU’s airport in the city.