HAL – In Service of the Nation
BANGALORE. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), one of Asia’s largest aerospace Companies and a Navratna Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Defence is the backbone of Indian defence forces. It has evolved into a premier aeronautical complex with 20 production divisions and 11 R& D Centres with expertise encompassing design, production, repair, overhaul and upgrade of Aircraft, Helicopters, Aero-engines, Accessories, Avionics and Systems.
HAL began its operations as a major centre for maintenance, repair and overhaul of bombers, aero-engines, and transport aircraft and was a strategic overhaul centre during World War II. Having gained significant expertise in aeronautical engineering, and pursuing selfreliance, HAL transformed itself into a principal design centre successfully rolling out trainers such as Hindustan Trainer (HT)-2, Hindustan Piston Trainer ( HPT)- 32 ‘ Deepak’ and fighter aircraft Hindustan Fighter (HF)-24 ‘Marut’ constantly supporting the needs of the Indian Armed Forces particularly the Indian Air Force (IAF).
In the past 75-year history, HAL’s endeavors have primarily been on meeting the varied requirements of India’s Defence Forces. Having successfully produced a trainer HT- 2, HAL went on to design and manufacture Hindustan Jet Trainer (HJT)-16 ‘Kiran’ for training purpose. HAL played its part in the creation of IAF’s aerobatic team ‘Surya Kiran’ that has enthralled millions of enthusiasts around the world since its formation in 1996. Apart from its indigenous forays, HAL took up license production of jet fighter Vampire, the Folland Gnat and transport aircraft Avro HS-748 and Do-228.
HAL later took up license production of MiG- 21 variants, MiG- 23, MiG-27 and MiG-29 providing crucial combat capability to the Indian Air Force. The IAF has been using these Russian origin fighter aircraft since the 60s.
HAL forayed into rotary wing production to address IAF’s requirement of a light and highaltitude helicopter in early 70s. It started the production of Cheetah/ Chetak helicopters under ToT from France and these helicopters
have been the mainstay of Indian Defence Forces ever since. Against the backdrop of this success, HAL designed, developed and started the production of the Advanced Light Helicopter ( ALH) Dhruv capable of operating in challenging geographical terrains. ALH, the work horse of Indian Defence Forces has become a benchmark for the rotorcraft industry and its successful induction has further led to weaponised version - ‘Rudra’ (ALH-WSI). Based on the experience on this valuable platform, HAL designed and developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) and Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).
Continuing its quest for selfreliance, HAL took up the Light Combat Aircraft ( LCA- Tejas) programme in the early 80s with other agencies to address two primary purposes, one to develop a replacement for India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters and secondly to provide impetus for advancement of India’s domestic aviation capability. LCA Tejas was inducted into IAF squadron on July 1, 2016.
The production of Sukhoi - 30 MKI was a crucial challenge taken up by HAL and it provides the IAF a leading edge in its strike capability. HAL’s technical know- how, its infrastructure and its capability to provide lifetime support has been a decisive factor in production of Su-30 MKI.
HAL has developed expertise in aircraft upgrade over the period of time with successful programmes like Jaguar NAVWASS aircraft to DARIN- II Standard, MiG- 21 BIS, MiG- 27M, Sea Harrier, HS- 748 ( Avro), Do- 228, Cheetah and Chetak helicopter re-engining and upgrade. Currently, design and development is progressing on the upgrades of Jaguar aircraft (DARINIII) and Mirage 2000.
HAL today provides onestop solutions for all the design needs of aircraft and helicopters in airframes, airframe systems, avionics, mission and combat systems using advanced design tools. The production divisions of HAL are equipped with modern infrastructure for production of fighter, trainer, transport aircraft and helicopters. HAL supports over 75 per cent of the entire fleet of the Indian Air Force. The current workforce is around 30,000 with over 50 per cent having more than a decade of aircraft industry experience.
HAL has built strong platforms in the Indian aerospace industry. Its thrust on R& D, meaningful partnerships with private sector, and co-development/co-production of aircraft, engines, and equipment with leading global aerospace companies will not just meet India’s defence requirements but also increase exports of aerospace products in the years to come.
With the indigenous design and development of Light Utility Helicopter ( LUH) and Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 progressing, HAL’s extraordinary journey is poised to further shape the future of Indian Defence and meet the growing aspirations of a self-reliant India by boosting the Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme in the defence sector.
T Suvarna Raju Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
ALH Dhruv LCA Mk-I Tejas twin-seat version Rudra: Weaponised version of Dhruv HTT40