The history and growth of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is synonymous with the growth of Aeronautical industry in India for more than 79 years.
The Company which had its origin as Hindustan Aircraft Limited was incorporated on 23 Dec 1940 at Bangalore by Shri Walchand Hirachand, a farsighted visionary, in association with the then Government of Mysore, with the aim of manufacturing aircraft in India. In March 1941, the Government of India became one of the shareholders in the Company and subsequently took over its management in 1942. In collaboration with the Inter Continental Aircraft Company of USA, the Company commenced its business of manufacturing of Harlow Trainer, Curtiss Hawk Fighter and Vultee Bomber Aircraft.
In January 1951, Hindustan Aircraft Limited was placed under the administrative control of Ministry of Defence, Government of India.
The Company had built aircraft and engines of foreign design under licence, such as Prentice, Vampire & Gnat. It also undertook the design and development of aircraft indigenously. In August 1951, the HT-2 Trainer aircraft, designed and produced by the company under the able leadership of Dr. V.M.Ghatge flew for the first time. Over 150 Trainers were manufactured and supplied to the Indian Air Force and other customers. With the gradual building up of its design capability, the company successfully designed and developed four other aircraft i.e. two seater 'Pushpak' suitable for flying clubs, 'Krishak' for Air Observatory Post (AOP) role, HF-24 Jet Fighter '(Marut)' and the HJT-16 Basic Jet Trainer '(Kiran)'.
Meanwhile, in August 1963, Aeronautics India Limited (AIL) was incorporated as a Company wholly owned by the Government of India, to undertake manufacture of MiG-21 aircraft under licence. Factories were setup at Nasik (Maharashtra) & Koraput (Odisha). In June 1964, the Aircraft Manufacturing Depot which was set up in 1960 at Kanpur as an Air Force unit to produce the Airframe for the HS-748 transport aircraft was transferred to AIL. Soon thereafter, the Government decided to amalgamate Hindustan Aircraft Limited with AIL so as to conserve resources in the field of aviation where the technical talent in the country was limited and to enable the activities of all the aircraft manufacturing units to be planned and co-ordinated in a most efficient and economical manner.
Amalgamation of the two companies i.e. Hindustan Aircraft Limited and Aeronautics India Limited was brought about on 1st Oct 1964 by an Amalgamation Order issued by the Government of India and the Company after the amalgamation was named as "Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)" with its principal business being design, development, manufacture, repair and overhaul of aircraft, helicopters, engines and related systems like avionics, instruments and accessories.
In 1970, a separate division was set up exclusively for manufacture of 'Chetak' and 'Cheetah' Helicopters in Bangalore under licence from M/s SNIAS, France. A new division was also established to manufacture aircraft instruments and accessories at Lucknow. Licence agreements were entered into with M/s Dunlop of U.K. for Wheels and Brakes, Dowty for under carriages and Hydraulic equipment and Normal Air Garret for cabin air pressurisation and air-conditioning equipment, Smiths of UK, SFENA and SFIM of France for panel instruments and Gyros, Martin Baker of UK for ejection seats and Lucas for engine fuel systems; for fitment on Marut, Kiran, Ajeet, Chetak, Cheetah and Jaguar. Similar type of arrangement was agreed with USSR authorities for manufacture of accessories for MiG-21 series of aircraft.
Design and Development of Basant agricultural aircraft was undertaken between 1970 and 1974 and design and development of Ajeet, an improved version of Gnat, was undertaken between 1972 and 1980. In 1976, projects were sanctioned for design & development of the HPT-32 elementary piston engine trainer, Kiran MK II (an improved version of Kiran MK I / IA) and Ajeet Trainer as well as for Advanced Light Helicopter.
In 1971, Avionics Design Bureau at Hyderabad was formed for the development and manufacture of IFF, UHF, HF, Radio components, Radio Altimeter, Ground Radars etc.
During 1973, a Design wing was set up at Lucknow for design and development of accessories such as under-carriage and hydraulic systems, air-conditioning and pressurization systems, fuel control/gauging systems, generator control and protection units, static inverters etc.
In 1979, after seeking a licence agreement with British Aerospace, the Company started manufacture of 'Jaguar' aircraft and with Rolls Royce-Turbomeca for Adour engines. Licence agreements were also signed with different firms for manufacture of Avionics and accessories.
In 1982, the Company entered into an agreement with USSR and started production of Swing-wing MiG-27M aircraft as a follow on project for MiG-21 BIS at Nasik Division of the Company.
During 1983, Korwa Division of HAL in District Sultanpur (U.P.) was established for manufacture of Inertial Navigation System (INS), Head Up Display and Weapon Aiming Computer (HUDWAC), Combined Map and Electronics Display (COMED), Laser Ranger and Marked Target Seeker (LRMTS), Auto Stabiliser and Flight Data Recorder for Jaguar and similar advanced systems for MiG-27M.
HAL is actively engaged and is contributing to the space programmes of the country. A separate Aerospace division was established in 1988. HAL is currently meeting the requirements of structures for aerospace launch vehicles and satellites of ISRO through the Division. Infrastructure has also been set up to undertake complete assembly of the strap-on L-40 stage booster. Structures for GSLV Mk.III, Mars Mission and Human crew module have been supplied by HAL to ISRO. HAL is also setting up dedicated facility for manufacture of cryogenic engines.
In order to capture the growing market in the industrial gas turbine engines, a new Division called the Industrial & Marine Gas Turbine Division was formed in 1998. The LM-2500 marine gas turbine engine, a 20 MW aero derivative, is being produced and overhauled in the Division, under license. The Division also undertakes Repair and overhaul of Industrial Avon and Allison engines. The Division is doing the overhaul of various existing gas turbines in the country, thus providing cost-effective services to users such as ONGC, GAIL, TNEB, RSEB etc., for upkeep of their gas turbine.
An independent profit centre for providing Airport related services was created in May 2000 with a view to synergize the operation of HAL Bangalore Airport. The main aim of creation of this Airport Service Centre was to restructure the existing resources to provide focused attention in relation with the exacting market needs of service segment related to airlines operations and commercially exploit the available infrastructure of the Company at Bengaluru.
With the signing of an agreement with Russian partners to take up licence manufacture of SUKHOI 30 MKI Aircraft, Nasik Division, which had been engaged in manufacture & overhaul of MiG series Aircraft, had to be expanded. Accordingly, it was decided in February, 2002 to have two Divisions at Nasik i.e. Aircraft Manufacturing Division for Su-30 MKI production and Aircraft Overhaul Division for overhaul and upgrade of MiG Series aircraft.
Consequent on decision to manufacture AL 31 FP Engine for SU 30 MK1 Aircraft under licence from Russian Manufacturer, it was decided to establish a new Division at Koraput to take up the project in February, 2002. The project activities under the new Division had accordingly commenced.
In order to facilitate Helicopter Division, Bangalore to dedicate itself exclusively for ALH manufacture and related activities, the manufacturing and repair / overhaul activities of Chetak and Cheetah helicopters and their variants were transferred to the Barrackpore unit. A new MRO Division was created at Bangalore to carry out ALH Overhaul activities in 2006.
Composites material is being used extensively in aircraft manufacturing for its low weight. A new Aircraft Composite Division (ACD) was formed in Mar 2007 with a dedicated manufacturing facility for composite materials for in-house projects such as ALH, LCA etc.
Facilities Management Division was created in Dec 2007 for effective and focused attention towards the common services at Bangalore.
Additionally, Strategic Electronics Factory at Kasaragod, Kerala, a unit of HAL Hyderabad, was established in Nov 2012.
The in house development of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) will give major boost to the modernization program of our Defence Services. For production of LCA, a separate LCA Tejas Division was established at Bangalore in March 2014.
A new integrated facility for manufacturing of indigenous Light Utility Helicopter(LUH) is coming up at Tumakuru near Bengaluru for which the foundation stone was laid on 3rd January 2016. HAL has successfully flown Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) from the Greenfield Helicopter Manufacturing facility, Tumakuru on 29th Dec 2018.
HAL was listed on BSE and NSE on 28th March 2018.
R & D Centres:
The Company has a comprehensive Design and Development capability in the field of aerospace. Out of 31 types of Aircraft produced so far, 17 have been of indigenous design. The Company has long experience in design and manufacture of a diversified range of aircraft and its systems. For further growth of the Company, it was considered necessary for HAL to strengthen its R&D capabilities and accordingly the erstwhile Design Bureaus have been restructured and reorganised into the following R&D Centres:
||R & D Centre
||Aircraft R&D Centre, Bangalore
||Design and Development of Fixed Wing aircraft (LCA, IJT, UAV, HTT-40)
||Rotary Wing Aircraft R&D Centre, Bangalore
||Design and Development of Rotary Wing aircraft (LCH, LUH, IMRH, RUAV)
||Mission & Combat Systems R&D Centre, Bangalore
||Mission systems, Aircraft upgrades and technology development
||Aero Engine R&D Centre, Bangalore
||Small, Medium Engines & Test Bed design(HTFE 25 KN, HTSE 1200 KW)
||Strategic Electronics R&D Centre, Hyderabad
||Transport Aircraft R&D Centre, Kanpur
||Development & Modification/ upgrades of Transport Aircraft
||Aircraft Upgrades R&D Centre, Nasik
||Aircraft/ System Upgrade Work on Russian Aircraft
||Aerospace Systems & Equipment R&D Centre, Lucknow
||Development of Mechanical, Hydraulic and Electrical accessories.
||Gas Turbine R&D Centre, Koraput
||Design Improvement of Russian Engines
||Central Materials & Processes Laboratory & NDT Centre, Bangalore
||Development of Materials, Castings, Forgings & New Processes
||Aerospace Systems & Equipment R&D Centre, Korwa
||Developing Flight Data Recorders & Display Systems.
HAL Today (Feb 2020):
The manufacturing programs underway at HAL are production of SU-30 MKI, LCA & DO-228 aircraft and ALH-Dhruv, Chetak, Cheetal & LCH Helicopters. The Repair Overhaul (ROH) programs being carried out presently are Jaguar (with upgrade), Mirage (with upgrade), Kiran, HS-748, AN-32, MiG 21, Su-30 MKI, Hawk, Dornier Do-228, ALH, Cheetal, Cheetah and Chetak.
The Company takes up maintenance and overhaul services to cover the life cycle requirement of all the old and new products. Presently, 13 types of Aircraft/ Helicopters and Engines are being overhauled. In addition, facilities exist for repair/ overhaul of various Accessories and Avionics fitted on Aircraft of Russian, Western and Indigenous designs.
In line with HAL's mission to become a global player, Exports have been identified as one of the thrust areas. HAL has supplied Dhruv, Lancer, Chetak & Cheetah helicopters and Do-228 aircraft to international customers and is also providing product support for the above platforms. The company has established its credibility through supply of high precision structural & composite work packages, assemblies, avionics etc to Global Aviation majors like Airbus, Boeing, Rolls Royce, IAI, Rosoboronexport etc.
The major on-going indigenous development programs are the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) MK 1A, Light Combat Helicopter(LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Basic Turboprop Trainer HTT 40 & Indian Multi Role Helicopter (IMRH). Design and Development of HTFE-25 and HTSE-1200 engines have also been taken up.
Current upgrade programs include Jaguar DARIN-III upgrade, Mirage upgrade and Hawk i. In addition to the platforms, various Technology development projects have also been launched to increase self-reliance in critical areas like the Aircraft Display systems, Mission Computers, Automatic Flight Controls for Helicopters and Aircraft Accessories & Avionics.