HAL — A catalyst in aerospace and defence self-reliance

Show: Defexpo India - Day 1

Defence public sector major the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is working towards becoming a technology company and is striving towards the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India’. The Chairman and Managing Director T. Suvarna Raju outlines the plans.

SP’s ShowNews (SP’s): What is the outlook for HAL in the context of the many initiatives the government has taken, including the ‘Make in India’ programme?

CMD: The Government has recently increased the limit of foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence sector besides taking out several items from the list of products, requiring industrial licence. These policy initiatives of the Government coupled with the fact that European and USA market for defence have saturated, augur well for the growth of aerospace and defence sector in the country. The Indian military and civil helicopter market is a big opportunity for our company. HAL has taken steps to position itself well into this market by having products in the two- to 10-tonne category.

The development of light utility helicopter (LUH) would be very crucial to our plans as defence market capitalisation is based on timelines of this programme. Based on the current growth rate (approximately 10 to 12 per cent), it can be predicted that the industry may have 400 to 600 helicopters by 2021. HAL is targeting this segment demand by customising ALH and by making efforts for civil certification of ALH.

The fixed-wing defence market will see a lot of interest by foreign OEMs as the Indian defence and civil requirements have made it as the 5th largest market in the world. The FGFA (fifth-generation fighter aircraft) and MTA (multi-transport aircraft) programmes have the capability to catapult us into the league of technology leaders. LCA, IJT and HTT-40 are the in-house technology drivers and would provide the strategic edge to our defence forces. These platforms would have significant export potential. Hawk, Dornier and Su-30 would allow us to consistently benchmark the production facilities.

SP’s: What has been the revenue growth of HAL?

CMD:: HAL has recorded an all-time high turnover of 15,622 crore during 2014-15, registering a growth of 3.26 per cent over previous year turnover of 15,128 crore. The profit before tax for 2014-15 stood at 3,173 crore as compared to 3,578 crore of the previous year. The company has achieved “Excellent” MoU performance rating which is a reflection of all-round success.

SP’s: What new initiatives have been taken up by HAL?

CMD: HAL has taken a range of new initiatives for preparing itself to take on the current challenges and prepare company towards a vibrant future. The Green Field facilities for manufacture of LUH and Naval Multi-role Helicopter (NMRH) are coming up in Tumkuru district in Karnataka over 250 hectres of land.

The government has mandated HAL and the National Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL) for jointly taking up design, development and manufacture of 70-100 seater regional civil aircraft through a special purpose vehicle (SPV). The teams have started working and approvals are being obtained from MoD.

SP’s: Could you outline some of the R&D and other activities that are on?

CMD: The total R&D expenditure of HAL was 1,083.3 crore for 2013-14 and this works out to 7.2 per cent of financial turnover. Critical technologies have been identified in the area of design, manufacturing, avionics and material to support indigenisation. HAL’s home grown Jaguar DARIN-III upgrade is going to further accentuate the performance of Jaguar. Mirage upgrade programme has made significant progress with the first aircraft already under test flying. We have taken proactive steps in proposing upgrade solutions for Hawk, Su-30MKI, Dornier, etc., to our customer to obviate the concerns on long term supportability. HAL is jointly working with DRDO laboratories, CSIR-NAL, CIPET, IITs and IISc towards achieving selfreliance in the aviation field harnessing the partnership strategy. MoUs have been signed towards this.

HAL is developing capabilities in the design & development of aircraft, helicopters, engines and niche technology areas like SDRs, AESA radar, aero engines, UAVs, etc either through indigenous effort or through collaborations. Regarding aero engines, HAL has taken up development projects to design and develop Aero Engines for 25 kN and 1,200 KW for fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms respectively.

As part of Design and Development activities so far 384 flight have been completed on LCH. HAL Board has approved production of 4th technology demonstrator to expedite the process of initial operational clearance (IOC) of LCH. Regarding LUH, ground test vehicle (GTV) test was successfully carried out recently. Also, indigenously designed and developed mini-UAV had its first flight during the year. Detailed design, jig fabrication and commissioning have been completed for HAL Basic Turboprop Trainer (HTT-40) and assembly activities have been initiated. The critical design review for Mirage 2000 upgrade is also completed. Regarding Hindustan Turbo Fan Engine-25 (HTFE-25), detail design of the core engine is completed and assembly tools and required test setup/test bed is under progress. The medium thrust class engine finds wide application in military trainer aircraft, smaller regional jet and unmanned applications.