India’s New Basic Trainer Is Flying

 - June 22, 2016, 2:31 PM
The HTT-40 is a tandem-seat design powered by a Honeywell TPE-331 turboprop. (Photo: HAL)

The Hindustan Turbo Trainer HTT-40 for the Indian Air Force (IAF) made its formal inaugural flight in front of defense minister Manohar Parrikar on June 16. The 15-minute flight included a low speed pass, a series of turns, a high-speed pass and short landing using reverse thrust.

Designed and developed by India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the tandem-cockpit HTT-40 has a gross weight of 2,800 kg (6,200 pounds) and is powered by a Honeywell TPE-331-12B turboprop engine. It was rolled out last February and is the first HAL design to be produced from a digital mockup. Parrikar said that the indigenous content of the HTT-40 is close to 80 percent, and that almost 50 percent of the components are sourced from private Indian companies.

The IAF originally planned to procure 181 of these trainers, but the grounding of the predecessor HAL-designed HPT-32s in 2009 resulted in an off-the-shelf purchase of 75 Pilatus PC-7 Mk IIs to replace those aircraft. While the 75th PC-7 was handed over in 2015, the HTT-40 has been delayed and is not expected to be certified until 2018. At one time, the IAF was considering an all-PC-7 fleet.

HAL will produce three prototypes and two static test specimens of the HTT-40, said T. Suvarna Raju, the company’s chairman and managing director. HAL says it will build the first two production HTT-40s in 2018, followed by eight in 2019, and 20 a year from 2020.

The HTT-40 has been designed not just to meet the current basic training requirements of the IAF but also to accommodate weapons.