Hindustan Aeronautics is already looking beyond its forthcoming deliveries of the HJT-36 Intermediate Jet Trainer by submitting a proposal to the Indian air force for a new-generation Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT).

HAL designers say the Indian air force has projected a requirement for a new-generation AJT by 2015. HAL has submitted a feasibility study on indigenous development of an AJT, and is proposing a design for a 6t-class AJT with a speed of 540kt (1,000km/h).

Senior air force officials say they have agreed to sponsor the indigenous development of trainers at HAL. They add that HAL has requested funding of $250 million for the design and development of two new-generation AJTs.

HAL designers also claim the company can roll out the two prototype aircraft within four years once the project is approved and full funding is sanctioned.

HAL has manufactured two HJT-36 prototypes, which can fly up to 430kt and are powered by a French Snecma Larzac 04H20 engine.

The designers say only minor structural modifications of the wing of the HJT-36 would be required to develop the AJT.

HAL says the indigenous AJT would be powered by twin upgraded Larzac engines and will include HAL-developed glass cockpit, avionics and fly-by-wire systems.

Based on a projected order for 100 AJTs, the cost of each AJT will be around $20 million.

HAL expects formal approval within the next two months and the funding to be sanctioned from April next year to roll out the project.

In March this year, the Indian government awarded the UK's BAE Systems a contract to supply 66 Hawk 100 AJTs at a cost of $1.7 billion to meet the Indian air force's immediate requirements for trainers.



Source: Flight International