New Delhi: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the sole indigenous manufacturer of fighter jets, aircraft and helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces, achieved an all-time high turnover of over Rs 18,000 crore (provisional and unaudited) during the financial year 2017-18 and produced 40 new aircraft/ helicopters and 105 new engines. The government-owned company had recorded a turnover of Rs 17,605 crore during the 2016-17 fiscal.
HAL issued a statement on April 2, 2018, in which it claimed to have overhauled 220 aircraft/helicopters and 550 engines. HAL also received an order of 41 Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and eight Chetak helicopters from Indian Armed Forces during the 2017-18 fiscal. The Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) certificate for HAL Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Certificate of Airworthiness for its civil variant Dornier Do-228 from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), acceptance of multirole, single-engine fighter Mirage 2000 upgrade by Indian Air Force after its Final Operational Clearance, first successful run of Hindustan Turbo-Shaft Engine -1200 and successful test firing of BrahMos missile from Su-30 MKI etc were also received by the company.
“The company strongly supports the Indian Armed Forces with its indigenous and licence manufactured products. The company has also continued to emphasize on self-reliance towards the development of indigenous products, diversification into the civil segment, enhancement of capacity, support development of defence manufacturing eco-system by developing domestic vendors (including MSMEs) and enhance outsourcing. These efforts will provide steady growth of the Company and opportunities to capitalize on the future requirements arising for Indian Armed Forces,” said T Suvarna Raju, Chairman & Managing Director, HAL.
Recently, Indian Air Force agreed to buy at least 123 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft at the cost of Rs 75,000 crore from HAL. IAF is facing a severe depletion in its squadron strength and the induction of 324 Tejas fighters will help in making up the numbers although the jets are not combat-ready even after three decades of development given its limited range.
HAL has been issued a request for proposal (RFP) by the IAF for 83 Tejas fighters. The jets will join the IAF from 2019-20 after completion of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) contract for 20 Tejas.
According to the IAF, the single-engine Tejas has limited “endurance” of just an hour, with a “radius of action” of only 350-400-km and weapon-carrying capacity of 3-tonne. In July 2017, the IAF inducted the first squadron, called Flying Daggers 4, of Tejas with two fighter planes joining the force.