The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a contract with state-owned company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the delivery of Dornier Do-228 aircraft.

Announced on 10 March, the new contract has an estimated value of approximately $81.47m (Rs6.67bn).

Under this contract, HAL will deliver a total of six additional Do-228 aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Each new aircraft will feature upgraded and fuel-efficient engines, as well as a five-bladed composite propeller.

This type of aircraft is mainly suitable for carrying out short-haul operations, which are primarily performed from the semi-prepared or short runways of India’s island chains and Northeast region.

Once delivered, the new Dornier fleet will boost the IAF’s operational capabilities to undertake missions in the country’s remote areas.

Besides, the six new twin-turboprop short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft will further enhance the overall readiness of the IAF fleet. 

HAL’s Dornier Do-228 is a multi-role light transport aircraft that has been designed and developed mainly to meet the existing and emerging needs of the air forces for transport infrastructure and other utility operations.

According to the company, the 19-seater Do-228 aircraft can also be used for supporting maritime surveillance, aerial surveys, search and rescue, causality evacuation, executive transport, pollution prevention as well as other cargo and logistics support missions.

At present, the Do-228 aircraft fleet is used by the IAF to conduct a wide range of operations, including communication duties and route transport missions.

Dornier-228 is also deployed to train the IAF’s future transport pilots.

In 2015, HAL received a contract to deliver 14 additional Do-228 aircraft to the IAF.

The Indian MoD also delivered the same aircraft to the Republic of Seychelles’ Air Force in 2018.