HAL Current Affairs

Boeing, HAL, Mahindra tie up to build F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet in India

Boeing India subsidiary of US aerospace manufacturer Boeing, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems entered into agreement to manufacture fighter aircraft F/A-18 Super Hornet in India. Three companies exchanged Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for Make in India fighter at on-going ‘DefExpo’ in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Key Facts

The partnership will come into effect after Ministry of Defence selects Super Hornet in any one of two ongoing fighter procurements deal viz. procurement of 57 multi-role carrier borne fighters (MRCBF) for Indian Navy or 110 multi-role fighters for Indian Air Force (IAF). If they win contract in above one of the deal, a JV company will be floated over next few months for design and production of aircraft.  The partnership will bring Boeing, HAL and Mahindra Defence System global scale and supply chain, best-in-industry precision manufacturing processes as well as unrivaled experience in designing and optimising aerospace production. Super Hornet is US Navy’s main carrier borne fighter.

Background

The partnership comes in backdrop of stiff competition between global aerospace companies looking to secure $15 billion (Rs. 97,950 crore) deal to sell 110 fighter jets to India. The fighter jets, predominantly made in India, will be sold to IAF under government’s ‘strategic partnership’ policy, designed to encourage foreign companies transfer technology and manufacturing know-how to domestic defence equipment manufacturers.  According to MoD’s proposal for fighter jets, at least 85% or 94 aircraft have to be made in India.

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HAL successfully tests Light Combat Helicopter for first time

State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for first time has successfully flown home-made 5.8-tonne Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) with its own automatic flight control system. The 20 minute maiden flight of the multirole copter was flawless with the engagement of the flight control system throughout.

Key Facts

The helicopter is powered by two Shakti engines and has many features of indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv. It also has day and night targeting systems for crew, including helmet-pointed sight and electro-optical pod.

It is twin-seat chopper is equipped for day-and-night combat operations with digital camouflage system for stealth actions and is known for its agility. The indigenous flight control system of LCH developed by HAL will replace the imported one.

The company has also indigenised attack helicopter’s display system or integrated architecture display system with involvement of private industry. So far HAL has built four technology demonstrators of LCH for flight testing. One of them also landed in forward bases at Siachen, located 5,400 metres above sea level in eastern Karakoram range of Himalayas.

Background

HAL had received a request for proposal (RFP) on December 22 for the supply of 15 LCH from Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Army. The deal was cleared by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in 2016 for purchase of 10 LCH for IAF and five for Indian Army. The LCH also participated in IAF’s Iron Fist exercise in March 2016 and had displayed its rocket-firing capabilities in weaponised configuration. The then Defence Minister Arun Jaitely had launched LCH production when it received the initial operational clearance.

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