Tag Archives: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited

Indian Air Force feels need for 120 Tejas jets

The Indian Air Force has a need for 120 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to equip six squadrons, air force chief Arup Raha said on 3 October. An equal number of  ‘Rafale-type’ fighter jets should ideally complement the Tejans. The outlook for the Tejan MkII – a futher development of the indigenous fighter jet – seems uncertain.

The Indian Air Force is currently working up to Final Operational Clearance (FOC) for a dozen or so of Tejan jets. FOC was originally set for the end of 2015 but should now should be achieved by March 2016

The Tejan has been in development for over 30 years and it still a troubled design. Manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has suggested four major design changes. Indian Air Force says it would like to acquire 120 jets if those changes are made. The order total now stands at 40.

The air force chief made it clear that the 36 Dassault Rafales for the Indian Air Force are not enough in his eyes. Another 120 or so ‘Rafale-type’ jets should accompany the Tejas jets in the future. The contract for 36 Rafales still has to be finalized, however. Negotiations for more Rafales seemed to have hit a dead end earlier this year.

Meanwhile, it seems unlikely the Tejas MkII will take to the sky in 2017 as planned earlier. That variant should incorporate a more powerful engine and an air-to-air refueling capability.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), designed and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)

Hawks for Indian Surya Kiran team

The Indian Air Force (IAF) aerial demonstration team Surya Kiran has reformed, using four Hawk trainer aircraft, an IAF spokesperson confirmed on Sunday 13 September. The team’s first performance will be during the ‘IAF Day’ at Hindon airbase near New Delhi on 8 October.

The team previously flew the Indian made HJT-16 Kiran MkII trainers, but ceased flying those in 2011 awaiting the new Hawks. A number of setbacks delayed the introduction of the Hawk into the team.

Since 2004, India has ordered 123 BAE Systems Hawk Mk132 trainer aircraft, of which the first few were built in the UK, with the remainder being build by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bangalore.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): One of four Hawks in the Surya Kiran team colours. (Image © IAF)

An Indian Air Force Hawk Mk132, seen in 2007 in the UK. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
An Indian Air Force Hawk Mk132, seen in 2007 in the UK. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Indian Navy decoms Kiran, transfers jet trainers to Air Force

The Indian Navy has decommissioned half of its HAL HJT-16 Kiran jet aircraft, basing its intermediate and advanced jet training now mostly on the BAE Systems Hawk Mk 132.

The nine remaining Navy Kirans left Indian Naval Station Hansa recently, Indian sources confirmed. The aircraft will join the Kiran fleet of the Air Force, which has such a substantial shortage of intermediate jet trainers that it earlier disbanded the Surya Kiran display team in 2011 and transferred the jets and the pilots to regular training units. The Indian Air Force flies the Kirans from Bidar, Dundigal, Hakimpet and Tambaram Air Force Stations.

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) built 190 Kirans, with about 80 still active within the Air Force before the transfer of the nine Navy aircraft. The other eleven Kirans the Indian Navy still has on strength, according to our data, are likely to be transferred to the Air Force too.

The Indian Air Force is desperately waiting for the new HAL HJT-36 Sitara jet trainer to arrive, but that program is severely delayed.

2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: An Indian Air Force HJT-16 Kiran of the disbanded display team at the Aero India 2007 airshow (Image (CC) Premshree Pillal)

India chooses Apaches and Chinooks

Unless India’s prime minister Modi or the US Congress stops it, India is buying 22 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from US manufacturer Boeing. The Defence Ministry has sent its final request to the PM’s office earlier this week.

The HAL Light Combat Helicopter prototype TD-2 in cold weather testing near Air Force Station Leh (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)
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The deal, worth more than 3 billion US dollars, foresees in options for another 11 Apaches and 4 Chinooks. By accepting the American offer, India continues to field a mix of Russian and Western made helicopters, after striking a deal earlier this month with Russia for the local Indian production of the Ka-226T.

Russian Helicopters was hoping to sell more Mil Mi-26 ultra-heavy lift helicopters, of which the Indian Air Force already operates three. The twenty Air Force Mil Mi-35 Hinds in service might either be supplemented or replaced by the Apache.

The Indian Army Air Corps also has a small attack helicopter fleet, but only from indigenous Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The 20 HAL Rudra of the IAAC are to be suplemented by another 20 plus the future HAL Light Combat Helicopter currently in prototype testing phase.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A US Army AH-64D over Baghdad in 2007 (Image © Chief Warrant Officer Daniel McClinton / 1st Air Cavalry Brigade / US Army)

Boeing delivered the first two of seven CH-47F Chinooks to the Australian Army at a ceremony in Queensland. The remaining aircraft will be delivered throughout 2015. (Image © Boeing)
Australia was one of the last countries to get the new CH-47F Chinook. Seen here one of the first two at a ceremony in Queensland. The remaining aircraft will be delivered throughout 2015. (Image © Boeing)

Green light for India’s own Ka-226 production

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of India has given the green light for the local production of the Russian-designed Kamov Ka-226T helicopter on Wednesday 13 May 2015.

Initially the deal will be for 200 of these machines, but larger numbers of 400 Ka-226Ts have been mentioned earlier, as Airheadsfly.com reported in December.

The exact details of the local production still have to be worked out, but sources in New Delhi say some of the initial agreement of 200 choppers might be bought directly from the Russian production plant; illustrating the need of India to quickly beef up its number of helicopters.

The Ka-226T is likely starting the replacement of 34 Cheetahs (Alouette II) of the Air Force and the 48 Cheetahs of the Indian Navy, built under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). In the second phase the 74 remaining HAL Chetaks (Alouette III) of the Air Force and the 60 of the Indian Army might see decommissioning with the introduction of the Kamovs. The Ka-225Ts are to serve next to the somewhat troubled HAL Dhruv, India’s indigenous helicopter development. Other Ka-226T will be fielded on the civilian market.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Kamov Ka-226T is produced both for military and civilian purposes (Image © Russian Helicopters)