HAL's trainer aircraft makes maiden flight

An indigenous trainer aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF), successfully carried out its maiden flight in Bengaluru today.

The HTT-40, which will replace the HPT-32 Deepak, will train IAF personnel in basic flying, aerobatics, instrument flying, navigation, night-flying and close formation.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, who witnessed the test flight, congratulated the HAL team and said ''the young team has taken a calculated risk and they have flown the aircraft within one year and kept their assurance.

''The indigenous content on HTT-40 is close to 80 per cent. Almost 50 per cent of the components on HTT-40 are manufactured by private players of the Indian aerospace ecosystem. Here, the role of private players and MSMEs has been significant in the production of parts. The IAF is positive in all these developments''.

The aircraft was flown by Gp Capt C Subramaniam and Gp Capt Venugopal for about 10-15 minutes around 09.15 hrs in the clouded skies.

T Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL, said, ''We are extremely happy that the aircraft had a flawless inaugural flight in the presence of the Defence Minister. The project will now go in full throttle as we aim to get the aircraft certified in 2018. Towards this, HAL will be manufacturing three prototypes and two static test specimens''.

''It is remarkable feat that the aircraft in its inaugural flight carried out low speed pass, a series of turns, high speed pass and short-landing using reverse thrust which is a unique feature available on this engine-propeller combination, he added.

HAL launched the detail design of the aircraft by earmarking its internal resources in August 2013. The detailed design phase was completed in May 2015 and from there it has taken only one year to fly the first prototype.

The project includes many first time initiatives such as Digital Mock Up (DMU), real time systems clash analyses, laser tracking of assembly jigs, six degree of freedom, mathematical model, complete glass cockpit etc.

HTT-40 has been designed not only to meet the current requirement of the Indian Air Force but also it has provision for role expansion to include weapons for the trainer aircraft.