India’s Union Cabinet has approved the procurement of 70 new-build, turboprop-driven HTT-40s from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in a bid to mitigate the shortage of basic training aircraft in the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) fleet.
Announced on by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) on March 1, the deal – which is worth INR68.283bn (US$827.78m) – will include the delivery of the 70 indigenously developed HTT-40s, along with associated equipment and training aids, such as simulators. While a formal contract for the acquisition of the aircraft has yet to be inked, the Indian MOD confirmed that the 70 aircraft would be delivered to the IAF over a six-year period. An official procurement contract is expected to be signed in the coming weeks. India intends to acquire the HTT-40 to eventually replace the 75 Pilatus PC-7 Mk II trainers that were inducted into IAF service from 2013-2018.
Designed and developed in India, approximately 56% of the HTT-40 and its contents have been manufactured indigenously, with HAL aiming to progressively increase this figure to 60% through the indigenisation of the aircraft’s major components and subsystems. The Indian MOD adds that, as HAL’s HTT-40 was developed in-country, it will be configurable for upgrades that would be necessary for the type to fulfil any future requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. In addition, HAL intends to engage with private Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in its indigenous supply chain, with this HTT-40 procurement set to potentially provide the direct employment of 1,500 personnel and the indirect employment of up to 3,000 others spread out across more than 100 MSMEs.
Powered by a single Honeywell Garrett TPE331-12B turboprop engine, the tandem seat-configured HTT-40 has been specifically designed to fulfil a training role and features modern avionic systems. The HTT-40 is 34ft 5.5in (10.5m) long with a wingspan of 36ft 1in (11m) and boasts a gross weight of 6,173lb (2,800kg). It has a service ceiling of 19,680ft (6,000m) and can be operated at a maximum speed of 216kts (249mph or 400km/h) at ranges of up to 1,000km (540nmi). The aircraft can be armed with a gun, rockets or bombs, but it remains unclear whether or not the 70 examples ordered for the IAF will come with this capability.