Deputy Chief of Air Staff of the IAF endorses the HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla

HTT-40 (above) has a four bladed, turbo-prop engine, modern avionics and a zero-zero ejection seat. it has a max speed of 450 kmph and a ceiling of 6 km

By Vikas Gupta

Defence News of India, 9th Sept 23


Indicating satisfactory progress on one of the Indian aviation industry’s flagship projects, the air marshal in charge of Indian Air Force (IAF) procurement personally flew, and endorsed, the new basic trainer aircraft (BTA) that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has designed for training rookie pilots of the three services.


Called the Hindustan Turbo Trainer Aircraft – 40 (HTT-40), the trainer was flown on Friday in Bengaluru by the deputy chief of air staff (DCAS), Air Marshal Ashutosh Dixit.


The HTT-40, which has been indigenously designed and developed by the Aircraft Research & Design Centre of HAL, is based on the training requirements of the IAF. 


The IAF had initially insisted on training its greenhorn pilots, and those of the other services, on a trainer imported from Switzerland – the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II. But HAL insisted on developing the HTT-40 as a “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) product. The ministry of defence (MoD) backed the project, which is now coming to fruition.


The HTT-40 is being priced by HAL at about Rs 50 crore per aircraft, which is about the same as the cost of the Swiss trainer. However the high degree of indigenisation in the Indian trainer will allow it to be modified into variants such as a light attack aircraft, without end-user clauses from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) overseas.


Control of the intellectual property rights of the HTT-40’s sub-systems and systems will also make it easier to export it to regional countries for use by their trainee pilots.


“The HTT-40 is a fully aerobatic aircraft, powered by a four bladed turbo-prop engine. It is fitted with a state-of-the-art glass cockpit, modern avionics and latest safety features, including a zero-zero ejection seat. The trainer has a maximum speed of 450 kilometres per hour and a maximum service ceiling of six kilometres,” said the MoD in a media statement on Friday.


The HTT-40 first flew on May 31, 2016 and obtained system level certification on June 6, 2022. Clearance by India’s regulator for military aviation products, the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), is currently underway for the full aircraft.


The IAF has signed a Rs 6,828 contract with HAL for the supply of 70 HTT-40 aircraft, along with spares and training infrastructure. Induction into service is to commence on September 15, 2025 and be completed by March 15, 2030. The HTT-40 will enhance the quality of training of ab-initio pilots of the Indian armed forces.


“The procurement will also include a full mission simulator for the (HTT-40), which will supplement the aerial training, allowing pilots to practice different profiles on ground, prior to the sorties”, stated the MoD on Friday.