Indian planemaker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) unveiled at the opening of the Aero India 2023 air show, a scaled-down model of the HFLT-42 supersonic trainer jet.
The aircraft is described by the manufacturer as the “Next Generation Supersonic Trainer”, designed to prepare fourth and fifth generation fighter crews.
Despite the primary training function, the Indian single-engine aircraft is suggested with a list of state-of-the-art items, such as AESA radar and fly-by-wire flight controls. The plane has 11 hard points, including BVR (Beyond Visual Range) type missiles.
HAL, however, while highlighting the project’s supersonic capability, has yet to release details on the HFLT-42’s performance. For now, the state-owned company has revealed only the dimensions of the jet, which is 16 meters long, has a wingspan of 9 meters and has a maximum takeoff weight of 16,500 kg.
The manufacturer did not reveal estimates on dates of presentation or on the first flight of the aircraft.
According to The India Express, the HFLT-42 project has been underway since 2017 and all aircraft development is the responsibility of HAL. “This will be the main training aircraft of the 2030s for future aircraft (of the Indian armed forces),” the manufacturer’s spokesman told the outlet.
Currently, Indian Air Force fighter pilots are trained on BAE Hawk 132 jets and older MiG-21 twin-seat fighters, both of which are said to be obsolete for the role.