HAL Scopes Foreign Engine For "Hindustan" Turbo Trainer

India's in-development basic trainer aircraft, designated the Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) will have a foreign turboprop engine, propeller and fuel system. The aircraft's developer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) sent out this week a request for information (RFI) calling for a suitable engine and propeller for the 2.8-3-ton airplane, which it anticipates the Indian air force will buy 120 of. Like the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) programme, the HTT-40 -- being developed to replace the troubled HPT-32 -- is being projected as India's own home-built basic trainer. Of course, it's the lack of such an aircraft that is forcing the government to put out for 80 foreign trainers on a procurement fast-track.

The RFI states that HAL intends to acquire 130 engines, including those for the prototypes. Contenders have been asked to respond to the RFI by June 15 this year. According to the RFI, "The engine and propeller should should form a proven combination which is cleared for operation of aircraft in aerobatic category." HAL is looking for a FADEC engine with a ~700-820 kW power rating, a service ceiling of 22,965-feet and a max sea-level speed of 475-kmh.

Firms expected to bid include Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce and Lycoming. I don't think Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) -- sadly the only airplane maker in the country -- will ever be really interested in moving beyond the low-tech zero innovation cookie-cutter assembly work that it does. And nobody really knows what their engine division does. As a result, India -- a country of superpower ambitions -- is forced to buy even basic trainers from abroad.

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