HAL turns up heat on HTT-40 programme

By SP's Special Correspondent

March 07, 2015: Dealt a new lease of life after months of friction with the Indian Air Force, HAL's HTT-40 programme has got the necessary boost it needs to move quicker. A first flight of the basic trainer aircraft (BTA) is scheduled for June this year. The MoD has indicated that the HTT-40 will be produced to meet a requirement of at least 68 aircraft (another 38 to be supplied by Pilatus). The MoD has additionally indicated that further orders will be extended to ensure the project, funded fully by HAL through internal accruals, to ensure the costs are fully amortized. The Department of Defence Production, the parent department to HAL, has also asked HAL to pre-plan export of the aircraft and open discussions with interested countries and clubs that may want to import the aircraft. HAL will be studying how to market the aircraft, now just as a basic propeller trainer and leisure flying/aerobatics aircraft, but also for light strike and tactical reconnaissance on the lines of the Embraer Tucano. The HTT-40 was conspicuous by its absence at this year's Aero India after making its debut at the last show in 2013. Sources said that the first prototype at the HAL Airport was getting set for its first flight.