A mock up of what the next generation advanced jet trainer, badly needed by the Indian Air Force, will be unveiled at Aero India 2005, the biennial defence aerospace trade show that starts here from February 9, officials of state-run aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) said on Sunday.
HAL plans to build the all-composite Combat Air Trainer (CAT) by 2010, which will be superior to the 66 Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJT) India is buying from the UK-based British Aerospace, the officials said.
This new (CAT), will be a twin-engine aircraft, designed indigenously, they said. The trainer will however be “a little less complex than the light combat aircraft (LCA)” HAL is building, they said.
Indian Air Force engineers are close to freezing the design for the CAT which will have a glass cockpit, modern avionics with ability to fly at speeds close to and on either side of the speed of sound, and also be deployed for combat operations.
HAL is confident of rolling out the first prototype of CAT in 39 months after the Centre sanctions the project cost of Rs 750 crore. The trainer is a logical upgrade over the intermediate jet trainer which HAL developed and flew in 22 months from the drawing board stage using technologies from the LCA programme.
Russia’s NPS Lyulka Saturn and HAL are developing a higher thrust 1,700 kg AL-551 engine to power the IJT when it is inducted into the IAF and also likely for the CAT aircraft. HAL officials say the CAT project should take off around 2007 with the first flight by 2010.