IAF already has an order for 22 Apache Attack Helicopters with Boeing । Apaches for the Army are to have the same configuration । There will no more field and firing trials । Army has projected a requirement of 39 helicopters । MoD sanctions combat helicopters for the Army for the first time । Six Apache AH 64E to be given to the Indian Army as a beginning । India Marks 70th Anniversary of Independence Day August 15 । India Strategic Congratulates All Indians Everywhere । HAL Successfully Installs Israeli AESA Radar on a Jaguar aircraft । IAF Bases at Pathankot and Jorhat Upgrading Infrastructure to Receive Boeing Apache Attack Helicopters in 2018 । Dinesh Keskar, Boeing Sr VP Sales for India and Asia Pacific for Civil Aviation, says the region will account for 40% of aircraft sales । China will be the biggest market and India after that । India remembers its heroic martyrs on Kargil Vijay Diwas July 26 । Ram Nath Kovind sworn-in as 14th President and Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces । Iraq Foreign Minister Dr Ibrahim al-Jaafari visits India July 24-28 । He called on Vice President Hamid Ansari, EAM Sushma Swaraj and discussed host of bilateral issues । Indian NSA Ajit Doval visits China to take part in BRICS NSA meet । Indian NSA’s visit comes amid India-China Dokalam stand-off । G20 should collectively oppose terrorism financing, franchises, safe havens, support and sponsors: PM Modi at Informal BRICS leaders meeting in Hamburg, Germany । He appreciated momentum in BRICS under the Chairmanship of President Xi and extended full cooperation and best wishes for the BRICS Xiamen Summit in Sep, 2017 । President Xi appreciated India’s strong resolve against terrorism । The Chinese President also appreciated India’s success in economic and social development and wished India even bigger success । US lifts personal electronics ban on Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines । Passengers on these three carriers can now carry their laptops and tablets along with them for flights to all destinations in the US । India, Israel sign 7 agreements including on space technology, agriculture and water conservation । Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Tel Aviv for his 3-day visit to Israel from July 4-6 । The visit, termed as ‘historic,’ is the first ever by an Indian PM to Israel । Israeli PM Netanyahu breaks protocol to receive PM Modi at the airport and accompany him on his engagements । PM Modi visits Holocaust Memorial Museum at Yad Vashem । PM Modi’s visit comes at a time when the two nations are celebrating the establishment of 25 years of their diplomatic relations । Happy 4th of July to all our friends in the U.S । India launches communication satellite GSAT-17 June 29 । GSAT-17 was launched using European Ariane 5 launch vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana । Government gives ‘in principle’ approval for disinvestment of Air India, 5 of its subsidiaries । Prime Minister Modi-headed CCEA gave its approval to fourth tranche recommendations of NITI Aayog on strategic disinvestment of CPSE June 28 । Possible sale of one more Boeing C-17 aircraft to India approved – Pentagon।brating 70 years of Diplomatic Relationship ।
August 21, 2017
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HTT-40 Takes-off

Congratulations are in order but celebrations will have to wait
By Air Marshal (Retd) Jimmy VK Bhatia Published: July 2016

The first prototype of indigenous Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA), HTT-40 (Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40) carried out its inaugural flight June 17 at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) airport in Bangalore in the presence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The aircraft was piloted by Gp Capt C Subramaniam and Gp Capt Venugopal for 10-15 minutes which consisted of take-off, some basic manoeuvring such as turns to both sides followed by a circuit and landing. The aircraft had first flown on June 1 in a proving flight.

Kudos are indeed due to HAL under its new leadership and the young team of designers and engineers which took just one year to put together the first prototype. Congratulating HAL, Mr Parrikar said, “The young team has taken a calculated risk and they have flown the aircraft within one year and kept their assurance. The indigenous content on HTT-40 is close to 80 per cent. Almost 50 per cent of the components on HTT-40 are manufactured by private players of the Indian aerospace ecosystem.

Mr Parrikar also made it a point to state that the “IAF is positive in all these developments”. This was an interesting statement as it proved wrong some quarters of the Indian press that tried to create an impression that the IAF was reluctant to acquire indigenous aircraft and equipment and fancied only imported systems.

Going back into history, it’s worth noting that post independence the IAF flew the indigenous HT-2 for three decades till mid 1970s and followed it up with HPT-32 Deepak basic trainers, both built by HAL. It is a well known fact that HPT-32 was a sub-standard aircraft (this author had flown it once in the late 90s) with a whole host of restrictions precluding its use as a full-fledged BTA. Also, it suffered from sudden engine failures, which during critical stages of flight resulted in fatal accidents. The IAF continued to put up with the aircraft even though HAL failed to find a permanent solution to the problem. The last straw however was yet another fatal accident claiming the lives of two experienced pilots in a post engine failure crash in July 2009 that led the IAF to permanently ground the entire fleet.

The IAF found itself in a Catch-22 situation as the grounding of the HPT-32 fleet, without an alternative aircraft, it was forced to use Kiran MK I IJT (Intermediary Jet Trainer) as the ab initio trainer in the basic flying role. As is well known, this led the IAF go hunting for a new BTA on a war footing and with six global manufacturers in the race; Swiss Pilatus PC-7 Mk II was chosen owing to its performance and L1 status and an order for 75 aircraft was placed in mid 2012.

During all this period, HTT-40 was nowhere on the horizon. Creditably, all 75 aircraft were delivered by November 2015, well ahead of the planned schedule, with the IAF till date having flown about 50,000 hrs with approx 100,000 landings while maintaining a superb flight line availability and flight safety record. This led to the IAF justifiably asking for its full requirement of 181 aircraft to be met through direct import/license production in India of additional PC-7 Mk II aircraft.

However, by this time HAL had chipped in with the offer of developing its own design and producing HTT-40 indigenously, instead of concentrating on its still under development HJT-36 IJT (Intermediate Jet Trainer) that the IAF was eagerly waiting for. It is a known fact that HAL is grappling with some major issues with IJT, such as, it is overweight, has yet to clear spin trials and, is powered by an engine with a TTL (Total Technical Life) of only 300 hours. Actually, there is great possibility of reversal of roles, with PC-7 Mk II taking over the Stage II training with the Kiran fleet slated for retirement in 2018 that would inevitably put more strain on the PC-7 fleet unless more such aircraft are acquired. Presently however, while an additional order for 38 more PC-7 Mk IIs is being negotiated with the Swiss company, HAL has been tasked to provide the remaining 66 with its offer of HTT-40.

The challenge for the HAL would be threefold: To develop the HTT-40 to be truly competitive to PC-7 Mk II, both in terms of performance and costs and, produce it in the scheduled time frames – of certification in 2018, in service entry in 2019 and rate of production going up to 20 per year in 2020.

It is hoped HAL’s ‘young team’ referred to above can meet the challenges and produce an aircraft that will not only complement but also take on the Stage II training along with the PC-7 Mk II, obviating the very need of a separate IJT.

The day it happens would be the day for the IAF and the nation to rejoice and, to celebrate.




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