- Two major indigenous defence projects — the acquisition of 70 basic trainer aircraft for the IAF and three cadet training ships for the Navy — worth almost ₹10,000 crore were cleared by the cabinet committee on security.
- The 70 Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) aircraft will be supplied by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics at a cost of ₹6,828 crore over the next six years.
- The three training ships, in turn, will be designed and built at the private company with the first vessel slated for delivery in 2026.
- Both the projects have been hanging fire for a long time.
- With the turbo-prop HTT-40 taking a long time to become operational, the IAF in particular has been grappling with a major shortage of basic trainer aircraft (BTA) to train its rookie pilots.
- The government a few years ago had rejected the IAF’s case to acquire 38 more Swiss Pilatus BTA, to add to the 75 already inducted under a 2,896-crore deal inked in May 2012.
- After the first 70HTT-40 aircraft are delivered, the IAF plans to go in for another 36 such planes.
- HTT-40 is designed to have good lowspeed handling qualities and provide better training effectiveness.
- This fully aerobatic tandem-seat turbo trainer has an air-conditioned cockpit, modern avionics, hot refuelling, running changeover and zero-zero ejection seats.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB