Friday, July 29, 2022

HAL signs contract with Honeywell for 88 engines for HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft

The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on Wednesday, July 27 signed a USD 100-million contract with the US-based Honeywell for 88 engines to power the indigenous HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft, even as the state-owned plane manufacturer eyes a contract from the Indian Air Force for such aircraft.

The contract was exchanged by Eric Walters, Senior Director OE Sales, Honeywell Defense & Space, and B Krishna Kumar, Executive Director (E & IMGT) in the presence of R Madhavan, Chairman & Managing Director, HAL.

The TPE331-12B engine is a single shaft turboprop engine with an integral inlet and gearbox, two-stage centrifugal compressor, power turbine, gearbox, three-stage axial turbine and turbine exhaust diffuser.

Besides, it displays reliable power and outstanding operational characteristics. The HTT-40 prototypes are powered by TPE331-12B engines and have been serving well since 2014.

The central government has imposed a phased ban on the import of 310 different types of weapons and systems to boost self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector, and basic trainers feature on that list.

Rookie pilots in the IAF go through a three-stage training process involving the Pilatus PC-7 MkII basic trainers, Surya Kiran trainers and finally the British-origin Hawk advanced jet trainers before they can fly fighter jets.

In August 2020, the defence ministry gave a go-ahead for the purchase of indigenous basic trainer aircraft for IAF to provide a push to the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) vision.

The defence acquisition council (DAC) accorded its acceptance of necessity (AoN) to buy 106 HTT-40 aircraft from HAL. Under India’s defence procurement rules, an AoN by the council is the first step toward buying military hardware. The IAF plans to order the basic trainers in two batches – 70 and 36.

The IAF, which currently imparts basic training to army and navy pilots in addition to its own, calculates that it needs 181 basic trainer aircraft.

28/07/22 Radhika Bansal/100Knots

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