BANGALORE: Six months after the Defence Acquisition Council cleared the procurement of 106 HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft developed by defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the request for proposal (RPF) was handed over by Indian Air Force on Thursday. IAF also sought a quotation (price).

This means HTT-40 is one step closer to the formal process of a production contract. Having received the RFP, HAL is expected to submit its proposal along with a quotation to IAF in the next few months.

HAL chairman and managing director R Madhavan said the firm is confident of getting the orders in a year or so, as he projected the company’s order book position for the coming year. Sources in HAL told TOI: “We are expecting certification this year. The RFP will include delivery schedule — to begin from two years of the contract signing. It will also come with PSQRS (preliminary staff qualitative air requirements).”

With HAL having already developed flying prototypes that have completed multiple mandatory tests, the certification process is under way. Of 106 HTT-40s — which will address the basic training requirements of IAF — 70 will be procured post-certification and the remaining after IAF operationalises the aircraft.

Sources said after initial production, manufacturing of the aircraft will be shifted to Nashik given that the plant there will soon run out of production orders with HAL nearing completion of the 222 Su-30 fighter plane orders.

V Seshagiri Rao, CEO, HAL MiG Complex, confirmed the same and said: “We have completed production of 221 Su-30s and acceptance tests are ongoing for the 222nd plane. After this, there are no orders for the plant in Nashik, but we have drawn up plans to keep it functional.”

Pointing out that the plant also does repair work, Rao said overhauling capacity would soon be enhanced from 15 to 20 planes annually. “Also, we will be moving the production of HTT-40 there,” he said.