HAL’s press conference at Aero India highlighted its many achievements
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On an Upward Curve

HAL’s press conference at Aero India highlighted its many achievements

Himanshu Pal

There’s a lot going on at India’s premier defence aviation company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). To bring to the fore its achievements and milestones, the defence public sector unit (DPSU) held a press conference on the second day of Aero India, where it highlighted its achievements in the last seven decades.

Speaking on the occasion, T Suvarna Raju, chief managing director of HAL, proudly announced that the company had produced a total of 183 Su-30MKI aircraft against an order of 222 till January 2017. The remaining aircraft, he said, would be produced by 2019-20 with a rate of 12 aircraft per year. He also talked about the Su-30MKI upgrade programme. “We are looking on a follow-on contract support for Su-30MKI. Government of India would look at HAL as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in India for Sukhoi and every need of Sukhoi will be fulfilled by the company,” he said. HAL has partnered with Russian companies for the upgrade of Su-30MKI. Talking about this, Raju said, “We have had preliminary discussions, and HAL at the front end would have back to back contracts with Russian partners at the Sukhoi Design Bureau and MIG Design Bureau to contribute to this upgrade programme”. The upgrade is planned in two phases - phase I and phase II. phase I upgrade will begin in the next 90 days.

In the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, HAL has to fulfill the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) requirement of 40 aircraft. So far only three aircraft have been handed over. Raju is confident that the complete order of 40 LCA Mark-1 would be fulfilled by 2019-20. Recently, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the procurement of 83 LCA for Mark-1A version of the aircraft. Now, HAL is working hard to ramp up the production capacity from eight per year to 16. “I am happy to inform you that we have already released a request for quotation for state-of-the-art AESA radar SPJ (self protection jammer). We intend to complete the trials by 2018 so that from 2018-19 onwards we will produce LCA Mark-1A,” said Raju. For the engine upgrade on LCA, Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) lab GTRE is trying to revive the Kaveri engine to make it fit for the LCA Mark-1 version. So far, the same GE F404 engine is used on LCA Mark-1.


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