Sunday, September 08, 2019

HAL-built trainer aircraft HTT-40 clears crucial flight test successfully

New Delhi: Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has underlined its growing capability to design and develop fixed-wing aircraft by steering its home grown Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) basic trainer to the brink of final flight clearance.

In flight-testing on Saturday in Bengaluru, HAL’s test pilots threw the HTT-40 into multiple spins and, each time, the trainer returned to level flight smoothly. In so doing, the HTT-40 cleared the so-called “six-turn spin test”, regarded as the ultimate and most difficult test for a trainer aircraft.
The HTT-40 has already met and, in many aspects of flight performance, surpassed the so-called “Air Staff Qualitative Requirements” (ASQRs), which lists out the flight performance — speed, turn, ceiling, etc. — that the IAF demands from an aircraft.

Since 2012, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has consistently opposed the HTT-40, first pressuring the Ministry of Defence (MoD) into importing 75 Pilatus PC-7 Mark II basic trainers from Switzerland, and then demanding more imports because HAL would allegedly never be able to steer the HTT-40 through all its tests.

“There is no need for [the HTT-40 trainer]”, then IAF boss, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, had dismissively stated at the Aero India show in 2013. “We have the Pilatus PC-7. It’s a proven aircraft. The project HAL plans is from scratch. Our indications are that the cost will be too high. There is no need for all this.” Each successive IAF chief followed the same line, criticizing the HTT-40, while demanding more Pilatus imports.
07/09/19 Ajai Shukla/Business Standard
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