Hal HPT-32 Deepak
HAL HPT-32 DeepakWikimedia Commons

A training aircraft made by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) embarked on its maiden flight in Bengaluru on Friday in the presence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) — indigenous basic trainer aircraft — is expected to replace the HPT-32 Deepak. 

According to the HAL's official website, the HTT-40 will train IAF personnel in basic flying, aerobatics, instrument flying, navigation, night-flying and close formation.

HAL sources told International Business Times, India, that Parrikar congratulated the organisation on building the trainer indigenously. "He said this was a great step in the prime minister's 'Make in India' initiative," the source said. 

He also told IBTimes India that the trainer would officially be cleared for service only by 2018, after receiving all the pertinent certifications. Only then could it be decided whether it would be used in training by only the IAF or the Army and Navy as well. 

When asked whether there was any plan to market the trainer to other countries, the source said a call regarding this could only be taken once the certification process ended, and that there had been no expression of interest from anywhere outside India yet.

The aircraft has a maximum take-off wight of 2,800 kg, a speed of 450 km/hour a range of 1,000 km, and an engine thrust of 950 SHP. It also has an air-conditioned cockpit that allows tandem seating. 

The HTT-40 is an all-metal FADEC-control Turbo Prop trainer with zero-zero ejection seats and multifunction displays.