The 70 Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) aircraft will be supplied by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics at a cost of Rs 6,828 crore over the next six years. The three training ships, in turn, will be designed and built at the private Larsen & Toubro shipyard in Kattupalli (Tamil Nadu) for Rs 3,108 crore, with the first vessel slated for delivery in 2026.
Both the projects have been hanging fire for a long time. With the turbo-prop HTT-40 taking a long time to become operational, the IAF in particular has been grappling with a major shortage of basic trainer aircraft (BTA) to train its rookie pilots.
The government a few years ago had rejected the IAF’s case to acquire 38 more Swiss Pilatus BTA, to add to the 75 already inducted under a Rs 2,896 crore deal inked in May 2012, after the foreign company was found to have hired absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari, as was then reported by TOI.
Now, after the first 70 HTT-40 aircraft are delivered, the IAF plans to go in for another 36 such planes. “HTT-40 is designed to have good low-speed handling qualities and provide better training effectiveness. This fully aerobatic tandem-seat turbo trainer has an air-conditioned cockpit, modern avionics, hot refuelling, running changeover and zero-zero ejection seats,” a MoD official said on Wednesday.
“The contract will include associated equipment and training aids, including simulators. The HTT-40 currently has 56% indigenous content, which will progressively go up to over 60%. The aircraft can also be upgraded to incorporate the futuristic requirements of the armed forces,” he added.
The three ships, in turn, will cater to the training of officer cadets, including women, at sea after their basic training to meet the future requirements of the Navy. The ships, which will also provide training to cadets from friendly countries, can also be deployed for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief along with evacuation of people.
The MoD said the HTT-40 procurement has the potential to provide direct employment to around 1,500 personnel and indirect employment for up to 3,000 people spread over more than 100 MSMEs.
The ship project, in turn, will generate an employment of 22.5 lakh man-days over a period of four-and-half years. “This will encourage active participation of Indian shipbuilding and associated industries, including MSMEs,” the official said.
“With the majority of the equipment and systems sourced from indigenous manufacturers, these vessels will be a proud flag bearer of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ in consonance with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative,” he added.
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