SOURCE: DEEPAK HILORI/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
While the Indian Air Force (IAF) wants to retire its Hawker Siddeley HS 748 turboprop Transport aircraft which was originally designed and initially produced by the British aircraft manufacturer Avro and later license-produced by the State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) but HAL has other plans to keep them going for next two decades more as it plans to modernize and upgrade them to the latest safety and standards.
While IAF categorically has rejected HAL proposed Upgrade plans to modernize its HS 748 Avro fleet and has even selected Airbus developed C295 as its replacement but HAL has been arguing that since Avor was designed as a medium-sized turboprop airliner it still has plenty of life still left in them and aging of the fleet has nothing to do with the airframe of the aircraft more to do with the technological obsoletion of the fleet.
According to HAL, the last 20 series 2M built with a large freight door has been used for over little 30% of its airframe life and since it was primarily developed as for the airline industry it still has plenty of airframe life left in them to be used for another two decades. HS 748 Avro fleet due to lack of Rear Ramp Door largely has been used to Transport Troops and VVIPs then as a Logistical transporter in the IAF fleet which explains its lack of usage.
HAL owned HS 748 Avro aircraft too has been used for movement of its Senior Executives and VVIPs between Plants all these years and a demonstration aircraft, HAL plans to upgrade its own HS 748 Avro aircraft with new turboprop engine with FADEC System and Cockpit with new avionics and electronics their by removing the technological obsoletion from the aircraft which was one of the major factors behind why IAF wants to phase them out.
Even with HAL’s proposed upgrades and modernization, Utility of the HS 748 Avro fleet makes no sense for the IAF since it will again be limited to VVIP or Troop Transportation and due to lack of Rear Ramp can’t be used as Logistical mover like seen with other Transporter aircraft like An-32 and C295 which IAF will buy to replace its Avro fleet.
HS 748 Avro has been used as Technological demonstrator for LCA Tejas Avionics like Radar and electronics it was also used a Testbed for the rotor domed based indigenous airborne early warning aircraft but many have raised the question of the platform usage due to safety concerns after AWACS Testbed crashed in 1999 killing eight scientists and the aircrew.
HAL needs to carry out detailed brainstorming and come up with other roles of the HS 748 Avro fleet which IAF will be ready to accept or it will be retired as planned.
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