The Indian Government has approved the purchase of a total of 70 Hindustan Turbo Trainer (HTT)-40 aircraft from the state-owned company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Information about the deal was shared by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 1 March.

The contract has an estimated value of $826.9m (Rs68,283bn).

The new contract also includes related equipment and required training systems, including simulators.

Deliveries of the new aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) will take place over the next six years.

Once delivered, the fleet of 70 jets will meet the shortage of trainer aircraft in the IAF and support the training of new pilots.

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In a tweet, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: “Being an indigenously designed and developed trainer aircraft, it will open new opportunities to hundreds of MSMEs and create thousands of jobs. It is a significant step towards strengthening India’s self-reliance in defence. I thank Pradhanmantriji for this decision.”

The latest decision to acquire the HTT-40 aircraft will further boost the Indian Government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative.

The HTT-40 basic turboprop trainer aircraft has been designed to offer enhanced training support to IAF personnel.

The platform features low-speed handling qualities, modern avionics, a fully aerobatic tandem seat turbo trainer, hot re-fuelling, an air-conditioned cockpit and zero-zero ejection seats.

It is built with nearly 56% indigenous equipment and systems. This is expected to reach 60% in the future, following the indigenisation of some other crucial components and subsystems.

HAL is also planning to engage various private industry partners and micro, small and medium enterprises from India.

Work associated with the deal will provide around 1,500 direct and up to 3,000 indirect employment opportunities.

The aircraft can also be configured to receive upgrades to support the future needs of the Indian Armed Forces.