HAL manufactured Hawk AJTs to enter service from March next year

Chennai: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will begin delivery of 'Hawk' advanced jet trainers, manufactured by it, to the Indian Air Force (IAF) from the first quarter of 2008. HAL would also seek to export the indigenously designed and built Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) to countries such as Chile, Venezuala, Malaysia, Turkey and Mauritius.

'Hawk will be delivered in the first quarter of 2008, around March next year,' AK Saxena, managing director, HAL, told reporters here on the sidelines of a All India Management Association-Madras Management Association conference.

Saxena also said, "The intermediate jet trainers are going through flight trials. We have to get certification for it, following which it will be inducted into the IAF." The Intermediate Jet trainers are due to replace the HJT-16 Kiran's that have been in service as trainers with the air force for decades. "We are planning to get it certified by 2008. Then the production and induction would start," he said.

According to Saxena, HAL was also looking at the export market and was looking at prospective countries like Chile, Venezuela, Malaysia, Turkey and Mauritius. "We have to go through a competitive bid process to bag the deals," he clarified.

Talking about the Advanced Light helicopter (ALH), Dhruv, Saxena said that HAL eventually intended to double production of this indigenously designed advanced helicopter to about 40-50 units per year. He, however, declined to specify a time frame. 'Our order position is quite huge. We are going to upgrade our infrastructure and manpower,' he added.

Talking about other issues, Saxena said that HAL was looking at possible joint ventures and also the infusion of capital into the R&D and manufacturing businesses. HAL was also planning to outsource certain R&D and manufacturing works, he said.

"We are interested to get into the civil aviation business. Currently we are supplying lots of 'work packages' to Boeing and Airbus, "Saxena mentioned.

Referring to infrastructure, Saxena mentioned that the country's airports needed to be augmented and more maintenance, repair and overhaul operations (MRO's) had to be set up as the aviation sector was currently going through a boom period.