Air Transport World

Subcontinent superfocus

With 60 years' experience, Hindustan Aeronautics is providing a new thrust in India

Much of Bangalore Airport's 650-acre site may be occupied by the sprawling complex of the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), but there is nothing to indicate the high-profile, high-tech nature of its work. The low-level buildings have a deceptively simple look. On the adjacent tarmac, an aging Canberra and worse-for-wear Kiran jet trainer (indigenously produced) finish the picture.

Behind this facade, however, lies an intensely driven company intent upon capturing the high ground of aeronautical technology. The drive began long ago on the hack of defense projects and really intensified with the license production of Russian MiG-2 is, starting in 1966.

HAL has an interesting history. It was founded as a private aircraft company in Bangalore by one of those early Indian industrialists, Walchand Hirachand, in December, 1940, in association with the Mysore state government. It was called Hindustan Aircraft Ltd. It struck a deal with the U.S. Inter Continental Aircraft Co. to manufacture Harlow trainers, Curtiss fighters and Vultee attack bombers in India. The first flight of the trainer aircraft took place a year later, along with an indigenously designed and produced glider by Dr. …

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