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Indian-state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) unveiled the Hindustan Lead-in Fighter Trainer (HLFT-42) design of the scale model at Aero India 2023 with some basic specifications of the aircraft but had refrained from disclosing the choice of engine for the platform.

Initially, HLFT-42 was assumed will be powered by a Dry Kaveri engine derivate with After burning module generating 73kN Class of thrust or will be powered by a GE F-404 engine generating 84kN of thrust but after it was confirmed that the aircraft will have a Maximum take-off weight of 16.5-tons just shy away from 17.5-tons MTOW of the Tejas Mk2 aircraft it seemed GE’s F414 engine generating 98kn of thrust could be an obvious choice.

HAL is still to commence the full-scale engineering work on the proposed HLFT-42 program and HAL officials at Aero India 2023 who spoke to were still non committal about the choice of engine. But has been informed that It seems various higher thrust engines will be evaluated as HAL wants its next-gen trainer to be future-ready and fully equipped to be used to train future 5th and 6th generation pilots that might see the advent era of directed-energy weapons (DEW) and high-tech multi-sensory requirement for manned and unmanned teaming systems.

As the program progresses in the next few years it will be clear which choice of engine will be used to power India’s next-gen fighter trainer aircraft.

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