Meaner and Mightier

The government rolls out the upgraded Hawk-i jet trainer

Jaison Deepak

Bengaluru: Union minister Arun Jaitley dedicated the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) upgraded Hawk-i jet trainer to the country and inaugurated the 5.8 tonne Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) production line.

The minister addressed high ranking officials and employees from HAL, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) at the event. He said India was in a sensitive geo-political situation and it was imperative not to compromise defence preparedness. “It is extremely necessary that we came out of this mindset that India will always be a buyer of defence equipment. Our narrow policies in the past have contributed to this. A change was long overdue,” he reiterated. He added further that a combination of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs)’s dedication and private sector’s entrepreneurship was needed to overcome this, and the government was making policies to facilitate it.

Ashok Kumar Gupta, secretary (Defence Production), outlined the contributions made by DPSUs. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL, in his welcome address said maintaining its excellent track record HAL today has come-up with two new products that would strengthen India’s defence services.

Defence Minister at Hawk-i

Official roll-out of the Hawk-i

HAL officials said the Mission and Combat System R&D Centre (MCSRDC) took up the indigenous role change development programme to convert the Hawk 132 jet trainer into a combat-ready platform.

The aircraft is upgraded with indigenously designed avionics hardware, software and system architecture enhancing operational role from a trainer aircraft into a Combat-ready platform with improved quality and depth of training by Large Force Engagement (LFE) tactics through Electronic Virtual Training System (EVTS). Hawk-i is capable of delivering precision Munitions including Air to Ground and close combat weapons, self defence capabilities through Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, digital map generator and operational reliability through new Dual Hot stand-by Mission Computer Avionics architecture supported by indigenous high accuracy and high-altitude Radio Altimeter, IFF MKXII, Data Transfer system, CMDS and RWR. The aircraft was flown during 2017 Aero India at Bengaluru with lot of appreciation from users. The integration of indigenous HUD, RLG based INS and Anti Airfield Missile is in advance stage.

The indigenous avionics would enable better autonomy in integrating weapons and assist in obsolescence management of the avionics and software.

Flight clearance of the avionics has been completed after 26 flights and HAL is targeting flight clearance for the complete aircraft early next year before offering it to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

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