February 28, 2015 by Shiv Arror - Livefist
The Indian Ministry of Defence has just approved the Indian Air Force's move to exercise options on its original basic trainer deal (for 75 aircraft) with Pilatus Aircraft and will shortly sign up for 38 more. Of a total of 181 basic trainers the IAF has said it needs, the original Pilatus PC-7 Mk.2 order takes care of 75 aircraft.
The remaining 106 aircraft were to be HAL's in-development HTT-40 propeller trainer that's all set to take-off for the first time this month. With the IAF approved to exercise options on 38 more PC-7s, HAL's platform will meet the remaining requirement: 68 aircraft. Indications are, however, that that number will be cranked up to make the project more viable in the near term.
An IAF-HAL-MoD committee is being set up to monitor the HTT-40 programme. The HTT-40 prototype is all set for its first flight in June.