A target for criticism over delays in projects in the past, India’s largest defense manufacturer, government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is undergoing a transformation of its human resource through training and innovative programs. This is focusing on two urgent requirements–the overdue Light Combat Aircraft (LCA); and the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT).
Science and technology in India
Despite being involved in the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) joint program with Russia, India is developing a next-generation fighter of its own–the advanced multirole combat aircraft (AMCA).
The Indian Army has placed a $77 million order with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) for 20 Cheetal helicopters, a re-engined variant of the Aerospatiale SA 316B Lama that was built under license in India as the Cheetah. The order is a short-term measure for logistics support to the Indian troops on the Siachen Glacier because of delays to the twice-bid competition for 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters (RSH).
India’s defense minister A K Antony today admonished the country’s Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) for “delays in delivery” and said he was “impatient” to see completion of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program. Antony was addressing the “Aerospace products- challenges in design to deployment” seminar held as part of the biennial Aero India show in Bangalore.
India’s Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) has confirmed that it has abandoned plans to jointly develop and produce the Kaveri military aircraft engine solely with France’s Snecma.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is expected to unveil an armed variant of its Rudra advanced light helicopter (ALH) at the Aero India show this week. The helicopter will be in the flying display along with the HAL Light Combat Helicopter.
Government-owned Indian defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has
launched a $12 million Strategic Electronics Manufacturing facility spread across 196 acres in Kasargod in the southern state of Kerala. It will produce advanced avionics for aircraft and helicopters. The facility is the manufacturing extension of HAL’s Hyderabad-based R&D unit for avionics–the Strategic Electronics Research and Design Center.
Maintaining India’s fleet of more than 230 aging Cheetah and Chetak reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters is turning into a nightmare due to unavailability of spares, according to K.C. Nanda, general manager of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Barrackpore Division, who sounded the warning at a defense conference held in Kolkata in August. HAL built both the Cheetah and the Chetak under license from Eurocopter.
The much-delayed revision to the Indian Ministry of Defence offset guidelines has been released and will take effect immediately. But it will apply only to new solicitations. A newly formed agency, the Defense Offset Management Wing (DOMW), will handle offset contract management.
For the first time, India’s defense offset policy defines objectives that include the development of competitive industries, the need to add R&D and design capabilities and the development of synergistic sectors. The policy now includes coastal security, in addition to internal security.
Few coompanies can lay claim to having as many as 10 aircraft planned or under development simultaneously, but India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is doing just that. However, while the Bangalore-based group’s ambitions may be laudable, it remains to be seen how it will face the formidable challenges of its current and planned projects.