“The air chief expressed his satisfaction with the aircraft performance and appreciated the design, project and flight test teams for having achieved commendable progress”, stated HAL after the flight.
The HTT-40, which will be used for training rookie pilots of the IAF
and navy, has now completed all major test points and met the performance parameters spelt out in the IAF’s Preliminary Staff Qualitative Requirements (PSQR). During testing the HTT-40 has completed stalls, engine re-lights, inverted flying, acrobatic flying and systems testing.
“The project now needs to be speeded up for certification and HAL must target setting of modern manufacturing facilities with high production rate from the beginning,” stated Bhadauria.
HAL is now looking forward to receiving a Request for Proposals (RFP) from the IAF
for manufacturing the HTT-40. An estimated 106 basic trainers are needed to supplement the IAF’s fleet of 75 Pilatus PC-7 Mark II trainers that were imported from Switzerland.
For years, the IAF has tried to shut down the HTT-40 programme, demanding the import of more Pilatus trainers instead. But through this period successive HAL chiefs have backed the HTT-40, committing Rs 350 crore of internal HAL funds to the project.
Over the last five years, a team of young, talented HAL designers have worked without IAF assistance or funding, backed to the hilt by former defence
ministers, AK Antony and Manohar Parrikar.
For the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II trainer, the successful flight testing of the HTT-40 most likely spells the end of further imports. The HTT-40 falls under the category of “Indian designed, developed and manufactured” (IDDM) equipment, and the MoD cannot import more Pilatus without a detailed explanation of why the HTT-40 is being ignored.