The second prototype (PT-2) of the Basic Trainer Aircraft HTT-40 completed its maiden flight at the HAL Airport here on Friday evening. Built by state-owned aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the prototype was made ready within one year.
The aircraft flew for one hour, carrying out important manoeuvres. The flight was certified a success by HAL Chairman and Managing Director, Suvarna Raju.
PT-2 was last seen on static display at the Aero India aerospace exhibition at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in February.
The aircraft had been equipped with a fully functional cockpit by then. HTT-40 is designed for use as a basic flight trainer aircraft. But it can also be optimised for aerobatics, instrument flying and close-formation flights. The secondary roles will include navigation and night flying.
It is estimated that the commercial production of the trainer aircraft can generate nearly Rs 3,000-4,000 crore. The Indian Air Force is poised to acquire 70 HTT-40. But this number could potentially go up to 200, based on demand. HAL has proposed to get the aircraft certified in 2018.
Launched with HAL’s internal funding of Rs 500 crore, the HTT-40 project was given the go-ahead for design development in August 2013. Once the detailed design was completed in May 2015, the first prototype (PT-1) had its maiden flight in May 2016.
Having undergone several improvisations, PT-1 has completed over 35 flights. Its fuel system was converted to a fully pressurised one and the rudder modified to address sensitivity issues.
Also on HAL’s agenda is a third prototype designed with reduced weight and a weaponised version, PT-4 to suit the needs of the Indian Army.