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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG

 Picture Courtesy Harsh Vardhan Thakur, Test Pilot with HAL

Indigenous HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft developed by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) finally undertook 5-turn spin successfully yesterday. HTT-40 program is just one step closer to a major milestone when It completes mandatory 6-turn in next few days said HAL sources close to idrw.org.

HTT-40 BTA is now racing towards its initial operational clearance (IOC) certification which HAL officials say will be available by the end of this year. Two HTT-40 prototype aircraft are still flown by in-house Test Pilots of the HAL till now will be ready for User trials by the Air Force Pilots by the year-end. The Air Force is yet to take a call and place orders for the aircraft yet but in principal defense ministry has already committed to buying 70 of the HTT-40 aircraft. Swiss firm Pilatus, which was supposed to supply additional 36 PC 7 Mk II trainers to the Air Force has been banned by MOD for a period of 1 year as part of an inquiry into alleged misconduct in defense procurement activity.

HAL is lobbying that additional order for 36 PC 7 Mk II trainers are scrapped in favor of HTT-40 aircraft and HAL is ready to supply first HTT-40 aircraft for IAF by end of 2020 if orders are placed soon so that HAL can start production using current production facility and expand it further once it receives order in bulk. idrw.org has been informed that final operational clearance (FOC) certification is only expected by 2021 and if IAF sticks to its demand that program achieves FOC first, then production will be further delayed.

IAF operates 75 Pilatus PC-7 MkII basic trainer aircraft fleet before the ban was imposed on Swiss firm Pilatus and even refused to sign a maintenance contract with the firm. IAF is now directly engaging with the component and equipment suppliers of the aircraft to avoid a spare crisis. Korea Aerospace Industries has offered its KT-1 Woongbi Basic trainer and light attack aircraft for IAF’s BTA requirement after IAF issued Global tender for 36 BTA after the cancellation of follow-on deal with Pilatus.

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