BENGALURU: The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju, in an unprecedented move, on Friday flew the Hawk-i, an upgrade of the Advanced Jet Trainer, Hawk and followed it up with another flight of the HAL’s basic trainer, HTT-40.
Later, he told journalists at the Aero India show that the flight was a life-time experience. The HAL had taken up the Hawk upgrade indigenously taking into account Indian Air Force’s (IAF) future requirements. The flight, he said, gave him a first-hand feel of the upgraded systems. The Hawk-i was piloted by Wg Cdr Pratyush Awasti.
The upgraded Hawk is equipped with indigenous Mission Computer in dual redundant configuration, Embedded Virtual Training System (EVTS), Softnet Radio and Cockpit Human Machine Interface (HMI).
Raju said the HAL spent about Rs 200 crore to develop the Hawk-i. It would be offered to the IAF soon. Incidentally, BAe Systems has showcased the Advanced Hawk at the airshow. India is currently the largest operator of the Hawks with 123 aircraft.
Raju indicated that the limited series production of the HTT-40 basic trainer could begin by the end of next year. The Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) from the IAF will be sought next year. The basic trainer has made many flying displays at the ongoing airshow. It was rolled out from the HAL on January 26, recording its maiden flight on February 1. The IAF currently requires 106 basic trainers. HTT-40 is powered by a 1,100 HP (820 KW) turboprop engine.
In 2015, the Defence Ministry had announced its decision to opt for 68 HTT-40 trainers and 38 Pilatus PC-7 trainers. The HAL finds the project commercially viable.
HAL chair at IISc soon
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) will soon have a HAL chair in its Aerospace Engineering Department with a corpus fund of Rs 1.5 crore.
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the IISC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard on Friday. The chair will be headed by an IISc faculty member for three years.
With the aim of developing and promoting breakthrough technologies, the chair will focus on as many as 137 areas of research and development (R&D), including rotor dynamics, shock and vibration analysis, heat transfer analysis, nano technology and others.
The MoU also seeks to establish a long term mutually beneficial relationship between the HAL and the IISc for academic and research based institutions.
IISc director Anurag Kumar, registrar V Rajarajan and HAL Rotor Wing Research & Development Centre Executor Director Vijay Kumar were present.