Six months after the defence ministry signed a contract to procure HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft for the Indian Air Force, the aircraft is yet to get full airworthiness certification.
The defence ministry signed a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to obtain 70 such indigenously-made aircraft, which are yet to get certified by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), according to an Indian Express report.
In March, the Ministry of Defence signed a contract worth Rs 6,800 crore with HAL to procure 70 such aircraft, which was aimed at filling a gap in the availability of aircraft for the initial training of pilots.
According to sources familiar with the matter, while CEMILAC, which is responsible for providing such certifications, had given provisional airworthiness certificates to the aircraft with several “critical limitations”, they would need a complete certificate, for starting the production.
CEMILAC is a regulatory body that comes under the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).
“HTT-40 has already been certified against FAR 23 (Federal Aviation Regulation),” sources in HAL told the publication.
“The aircraft is yet to be certified against the ASQR (Air Staff Quality Requirements) issued by IAF. The draft “Release to Service Document” is submitted to RCMA (Regional Centre of Military Airworthiness.) This is expected to be cleared by October 2023,” a source in HAL said.
“All the aircraft will be supplied over a period of six years, say by 2029, though we cannot put the exact time frame for the first and the last deliveries,” they added.
This major gap in the availability of trainer aircraft became evident after HAL’s very own HPT-32 aircraft was grounded in 2010.
While the HAL will provide 70 HTT-40 aircraft over a period of six years, the delivery of ships is scheduled to commence from 2026.
The HTT-40 is a turbo prop aircraft possessing good low speed handling qualities and provides better training effectiveness.
The HTT-40 contains approximately 56 per cent indigenous content which will progressively increase to over 60 per cent through indigenisation of major components and subsystems.