Saturday, October 27, 2018

HAL: the backbone of the Indian Air Force

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd or HAL as it is known from its initials, turned 78 this year and has always been the backbone of the Indian Air Force. Two-thirds of the IAF's workhorse aircraft are from HAL. Today, HAL manufactures the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas with advanced technologies; and the 25-tonne Sukhoi-30 MKI fourth generation fighter aircraft of Russian origin right from raw materials.

As a nation we have to be proud of these accomplishments. Unfortunately, in recent weeks, HAL has been unduly blamed and - it seems - systematically tarnished on the basis of myths, wrong notions and false charges.

In the area of design, HAL has to its credit the indigenous design of Glider, basic piston engine trainers (HT-2, HPT32), jet trainers (Kiran Mk I and Mk II), supersonic fighter (Marut), agricultural aircraft (Basant). It also has to it’s credit a number of aircraft upgrade programs that it license-manufactured - Gnat, Jaguar, Mirage-2000 and the MiGs - all of which meet the Air Force's requirements.
Design, production and technological capabilities of HAL should have been reckoned before it was knocked down as an industry not capable of producing the Rafale fighter aircraft. (The government is buying 36 of them in flyaway condition outright from their original French manufacturer Dassault Aviation.) The fact that two thirds of the aircraft in IAF are from HAL is enough testimony to HAL’s manufacturing capability.
26/10/18 G.S. Jamadagni/The Hindu

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