Anxious to shed the reputation of a laggard, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on April 1 asserted that it is delivering ahead of schedule on a contract for 40 Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) for the Indian Army and declared a robust financial performance with a record turnover for 2018-19.
“HAL has produced 12 new ALHs against the contract of 40, out of which six were produced ahead of schedule for the Indian Army,” it declared in a statement, while declaring its financial results at the end of the 2018-19 Fiscal.
India’s sole aircraft manufacturer used this turnaround in its delivery culture to garnish a rosy announcement of a turnover of 19,400 crore ($2.8 billion), an increase of 6 per cent over the previous year’s figure of 18,284 crore ($2.64 billion).
“In the FY 2018-19, HAL has produced 41 new aircraft/helicopters and 98 new engines and has carried out overhaul of 213 aircraft/helicopters and 540 engines. HAL’s R&D projects are on track and are tailor made for the requirement of the armed forces,” the statement added.
At the recently-held Aero India 2019, HAL announced that it’s close to clinching contracts for 83 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft in the Mark 1A configuration, and 15 Light Attack Helicopters. It received a “limited” Final Operational Clearance (FOC) for the Tejas on February 20, clearing the decks for commencement of production for the second batch of 16 single cockpit Tejas fighters. It also declared the development process for the Light Combat Helicopter complete, and announced successful incorporation of air-to-air missile (Mistral) firing capability for the gunship.
Madhavan had also acknowledged talks with Russia for extending the serial production of Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters by another 18 aircraft.
“The performance of the Company in 2018-19 has encouraged us to focus more on design and development of indigenous products and technologies, develop aerospace and defence manufacturing eco-system and to be more dedicated towards meeting the current and future requirements of customers,” chairman Madhavan stated. “This strategy will also help HAL to be on the growth track in meeting the expectations of the shareholders,” he added.
This clearly suggests that India’s largest Defence PSU would be focusing on the Tejas fighter, the ALH line of helicopters and derivatives, and the development of the AMCA fifth generation fighter aircraft to power its future in the face of emerging private sector competition.