The Hindustan Turborprop Trainer (HTT) 40 will mark its first flight by this year end with structural work of the front and rear fuselages almost completed, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) sources told Defenseworld.net correspondent.
The HTT 40 had almost been killed earlier in favor of the much more expensive Pilatus PC 7 which the Indian Air Force had purchased despite strong objection from HAL on grounds that their own aircraft was in an advanced stage of development.
However, the program got a shot in the arm when India's Defence Acquisition Council under defence minister Mahohar Parrikar decided to order 68 HTT 40 aircraft from HAL while curtailing a follow-on order from Pilatus.
HAL had first invested Rs 350 crores (US$58 million) out of its internal funds in the project. The scope included the building of three prototypes and two test specimens. This included detailed designing process, fabrications of the canopy and windscreen, besides the front fuselage.
The forging of the main landing gear axle and the barrel along with the nose landing gear barrel has been completed. Wind tunnel testing of the fabricated portion has been completed.
The HTT-40 is a tandem seat trainer aircraft being developed at HAL for the first stage training of rookie pilots. With advanced features like zero-zero ejection seats and multi function displays, it can also be adapted as a light attack aircraft.
Besides basic flying training, aerobatics, instrument flying, navigation, night flying and close formation flying are the tasks HTT-40 is designed to accomplish.