Centre signs contracts worth ₹9,900 cr with HAL, L&T for trainer aircraft, ships.

The Union ministry of defence on Tuesday signed two separate contracts with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Larsen & Toubro for 70 Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) basic trainer aircraft and three cadet training ships, respectively, at a cumulative cost of 9,900 crore.

The contracts, inked in the presence of defence minister Rajnath Singh, mark yet another milestone in the Centre’s mission for self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector.

The Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had on March 1 cleared the two deals, according to which the basic trainers will cost 6,838 crore, and the cadet training ships for 3,100 crore.

The new trainer aircraft, a longstanding need, will provide a much-needed fillip to the ab initio training of air force pilots. Basic trainers figure on the long list of weapons and systems that India has imposed an import ban on for the last 30 months. HAL will supply the HTT-40 planes to IAF over six years.

Currently, ab initio training of all rookie pilots is carried out on Swiss-origin Pilatus PC-7 MkII planes and Kiran Mk-1/1A trainers. Those training to become fighter pilots further train on the British-origin Hawk advanced jet trainers. The HTT-40 is a turboprop aircraft, designed to have good low speed handling qualities and provide better training effectiveness, officials earlier said.

The delivery of the indigenously designed, developed and manufactured training ships is expected to begin in 2026. These vessels will cater to the needs of officer cadets, including women, at sea after their basic training to meet the future requirements of the Indian Navy. The ships will be constructed at L&T’s Kattupalli facility in Tamil Nadu.

Apart from creating a separate budget for purchasing locally made military hardware, the government has taken a raft of steps to promote self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector, including increasing foreign direct investment from 49% to 74%, and notifying hundreds of weapons and systems that cannot be imported.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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