Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40), India’s indigenous basic trainer aircraft, has made its maiden flight after much delay.
While the HTT-40 programme was almost junked during UPA rule, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar went after both IAF and HAL to ensure development of the trainer. (HAL Photo)
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)-developed Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40), India’s indigenous basic trainer aircraft, made its maiden flight after much delay on Tuesday.
The aircraft, the prototype of which was rolled out in January, is aimed at being used for the first stage training for all flying cadets of the three services. HTT-40 had completed ground runs phase last week.
The HTT-40 design was adapted to a final decision on engine selection in May 2015 and the first prototype manufacturing was completed.
Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) also touts HTT 40 as the first ever prototype to be manufactured completely based on a digital mock-up and also by using laser tracked jigs and metal tooling at proto phase itself.
“With advanced features like zero-zero ejection seats and multi-function displays, HTT-40 can also be adapted as a light attack aircraft. Its role includes basic flying training, aerobatics, instrument flying, navigation, night flying, close formation etc,” claims HAL.
While the HTT-40 programme was almost junked during UPA rule, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar went after both IAF and HAL to ensure development of the trainer.
IAF has already committed to purchasing at least 70 aircraft.
“It is a good start as it is better late than never. HAL should ensure good programme management as it is the key to ensure timely flights tests and setting up of a parallel production line,” Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (Retd), a distinguished fellow at the centre for Air Power Studies, told PTI.
IAF had blocked funding for the HTT-40 by telling the Defence Ministry that the aircraft would be too expensive, heavy and that it will not meet their need.
IAF had backed a Swiss trainer, the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II.
The Air Force had purchased 75 of Pilatus in 2012 under a controversial deal but the requirement was for over 106 more planes.
Parrikar had cut this down and cleared a plan to purchase another 38 of Pilatus aircraft. However, the contract is still stuck on pricing issues.
(With inputs from PTI)
Sounds very familiar
“Parrikar had cut this down and cleared a plan to purchase another 38 of Pilatus aircraft. However, the contract is still stuck on pricing issues”
At least the IAF are wiser
“IAF had blocked funding for the HTT-40 by telling the Defence Ministry that the aircraft would be too expensive, heavy and that it will not meet their need.
IAF had backed a Swiss trainer, the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II.”
HAL HTT-40 Trainer Aircraft
Design and features of HTT-40 indigenous trainer
The HTT-40 will be a fixed-wing aircraft incorporating an all-metal airframe design. It will feature a bubble canopy, T-tail configuration and a retractable tricycle landing gear system with a steerable nose wheel.
It will have a maximum take-off weight of 2,800kg and can be configured to carry a gun, rockets and bombs to perform light combat and counter-insurgency missions.
Cockpit of the trainer aircraft
The air-conditioned, glass cockpit will accommodate two crew, including an instructor and trainee in tandem seating configuration with zero-zero ejection seats. It will integrate multifunction displays, and modern navigation and communication systems.
In June 2015, Honeywell was selected by HAL to supply the TPE331-12B turboprop engines for the high-performance HTT-40 military trainer aircraft. The TPE331-12B turboprop engine, equipped with full-authority digital engine control (FADEC) system, will develop a maximum power output of 950 shaft horsepower (shp).
TPE331-12B turboprop engine – Image @.flightglobal.com
It is one of the most widely-employed turboprop power-plants in operation. It will enable the HTT-40 to offer users quick acceleration, low-fuel consumption, high-reliability and the flexibility to conduct a range of training missions. The reliable turboprop engine will also allow HAL to develop a range of variants that will deliver increased levels of performance.
Honeywell has currently delivered more than 13,000 TPE331 engines to both military and civil operators worldwide. The fleet of TPE331 engines accumulated more than 122 million flight hours to date. The engines power a range of aircraft, including light aircraft and advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
HTT-40 trainer performance
The HTT-40 trainer is expected to offer the best-in-class fuel economy and power rating. It will take-off from a short distance and have a high rate of climb. It will have a maximum speed of 450km/h and reach a maximum distance of 1,000km. The stall speed with flaps down will be 135km/h.
The certified operational ceiling of the trainer will be 6,000m, the ‘G’ limits will be +6/-3 and airborne endurance will be three hours. @airforce-technology.com
Data from HAL
- Gross weight:2,800 kg (6,173 lb)
- Powerplant:1 × Honeywell Garrett TPE331-12B turboprop, 700 kW (940 hp)
- Maximum speed:600 km/h (373 mph; 324 kn) 
- Range:1,000 km (621 mi; 540 nmi)
- Service ceiling:6,000 m (19,685 ft)
- Can be armed with a gun, rockets and bombs