New Delhi: India does not need to import any more basic trainer aircraft for the armed forces as the indigenous HTT 40 will be ready by the end of this year, state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which has invested Rs 550 crore in the development project, has said.
With the defence ministry banning Swiss company Pilatus, which supplied the current set of PC 7 Mk II trainers to the Air Force, HAL said the import requirement of 36 aircraft can also be added to the indigenous order and that the first unit can be delivered within a year.
“We have completed most of the tests and the aircraft has been performing very well,” HAL chairmanR Madhavan told ET. “We should be able to complete the spin tests (the last stage) by December and will have the aircraft certified as well. If the Air Force places the order, the first one can be delivered within a year.”
The defence ministry has already committed to buying 70 of the HTT 40 aircraft and HAL has formally represented that the additional order for 36, which was initially reserved for Pilatus, also be added to its kitty. “This should add to our order as it would make it much easier for everyone – the per aircraft cost will come down as the total number will cross 100. The HTT 40 is unique as it is specifically designed to meet all requirements put up by the Air Force,” the HAL chairman said.
As reported by ET, Swiss firm Pilatus has been banned this month after the defence ministry found it guilty of violating an integrity pact after it was revealed that it paid over 1 million Swiss francs to a company owned by arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.
29/07/19 Manu Pubby/Economic Times