Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has bagged a major defence contract for supplying 14 Dornier-228 aircraft to the Indian Air Force, which is valued at Rs1,090 crore. The contract also includes six reserve engines, one flight simulator and associated equipment.
HAL Dornier-228 is a highly reliable, multi-purpose, fuel efficient, rugged, light weight twin turboprop aircraft with a retractable tricycle landing gear. The cockpit is designed to accommodate two crew members and is fitted with dual controls. The cabin can accommodate 19 passengers in commuter configuration.
''Apart from these aircraft, the contract valued at around Rs1,090 crore includes six reserve engines, one flight simulator and associated equipment,'' T Suvarna Raju, chairman of HAL, said, adding, ''This also reflects the trust of the defence customers on HAL and we remain committed to supporting Indian defence services for all their needs.''
HAL will manufacture the Dornier-228 aircraft at its Transport Aircraft Division at Kanpur, which has expertise in manufacturing of transport and trainer category aircraft. HAL has till date manufactured 125 Dornier-228 aircraft for various defence and other customers. The aircraft has also been exported to Seychelles and Mauritius.
Last year, one Dornier was also supplied to Bangalore-based Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) to be used as flying test bed (FTB) for evaluation of performance of various radars being developed by them.
The Dornier-228s are versatility aircraft with several in-built features such as highest fuel carrying capacity in its class (2,850 litres) due to integral fuel tanks in wings, low structural weight ensured through use of advanced composite materials, high wing design for unobstructed view and radar coverage, wide wheel base for better stability.
The aircraft has short take-off and landing capability required for operations from short and semi-prepared airfields - the aircraft can take off from around 700 m and land within 575 m - sturdy landing gears.
Its rectangular cabin offers more head space for passengers and mounting space for equipment in case of special mission configuration as opposed to circular cabin.
With a low floor level and wide door for easy loading/unloading of cargo, flight openable roller door, four wing hard points for mounting of external loads up to 1,030 kg, the aircraft gives optimum performance at normal cruising altitude and is best suited for short haul applications.