HAL has moved away from its strategy of depending entirely on IAF orders to build products and is now venturing into building products before orders are placed, chairman of the public sector aircraft manufacturer R Madhavan has said.
As part of this new strategy, HAL has developed the HTT-40, a basic trainer aircraft for IAF pilots, and is now developing a Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SPORT) for training pilots who are on the cusp of being inducted into fighter squadrons.
“Earlier we used to wait for the IAF to spell out its needs and then we would enter the picture. We now develop our products and then look for markets. SPORT is one project where we will launch and see if there are takers,’’ the HAL chairman said at Aero India 2019.
HAL is launching the fourth generation SPORT to bridge a gap that is being felt in pilot training, Madhavan said.
“We do feel bad when people talk poorly about us, but our morale is not down. Right from the union to middle management, workers are enthused to do better. When bad things are said about us we take it in our stride,’’ Madhavan said with reference to criticism around its capability to manufacture the Rafale aircraft which the French maker Dassault Aviation expressed.
The HAL chairman said accusations that the PSU would consume excess man hours in making the Rafale compared to Dassault Aviation, driving up costs as a consequence, were misplaced. “The labour content in the manufacture of an aircraft is a smaller fraction than the material content in the total cost of an aircraft. Secondly, our labour cost is much, much lower than what they are talking about. When you make the first aircraft you take more time. For that matter, anything you do for the first time will take a long time — even cooking,” he said. “After the 50th and 100th aircraft, my people are set, my procedures are set and manufacture becomes much easier…”