Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) chairman RK Tyagi has recently gone on record saying that his company planned to invest R19,000 crore for the creation of infrastructure in tune with its Vision 2020 programme to create 12 new flying platforms. In effect, HAL aimed to emerge as a $10-bn defence major by 2020.
The chairman also announced that the PSU is in discussion with the ministry of human resources development to create an aviation university based in Bangalore, which will be 'full-fledged in every way'.
As part of this initiative, state-owned HAL will lead the national endeavour to develop a 70 to 100 seat regional transport aircraft (RTA) at a cost of R7,500 crore. Talking to mediapersons here, Tyagi said, “The programme would be taken up as a national cause even though it was initiated three years ago and not much head way had been made.”
The HAL board had also approved the development of a basic turboprop trainer HTT40, which could also be used as a light attack aircraft. This approval has come despite the procurement of the Swedish basic trainer Pilatus. HAL director for design and development Suvarna Raju said even though HAL had made proposals to the user agencies thrice on development of a basic trainer, there was no response and the HAL board had decided to sanction develop of the trainer, on its own.
Interestingly, the air chief NAK Browne later told mediapersons in response to a query, “IAF had struck down the proposal and had written to the government against it, as HAL needs to start from scratch.