Gandhinagar: The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Thursday concluded a ₹6,800 crore contract for 70 HTT-40 indigenous Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA). In all, 451 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU), Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreements and product launches took place during the Bandhan ceremony at the 12th DefExpo.

“Of the 451, there were 345 MoUs, 42 major announcements, 46 product launches and 18 ToTs. The contribution of Gujarat was 28 MoUs and one product launch. It envisages investment worth ₹1.5 lakh crore,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Speaking at the event, which marked the end of three business days of the Expo, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh a strong and prosperous ‘New India’ is fully ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with major world powers. “Our self-reliance efforts are to ensure that the nation and its people remain protected from future threats,” he stated.

In August 2020, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the procurement of 106 HTT-40 for the IAF of which post certification 70 BTA will be initially procured from the HAL and balance 36 after operationalisation of HTT-40 fleet in the IAF.

In February 2021, at Aero India, HAL received the Request For Proposal from the IAF for HTT-40 for 70 aircraft with additional clause for 38 more. Production will take place at HAL’s two manufacturing units at Bangalore and Nasik.

Earlier the Defence Ministry held an event ‘Invest for Defence’ meant to promote investment in the defence sector in the country both by the Indian industry as well Foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers.

During the discussion, Adani Defence & Aerospace projected investments to the tune of ₹5,000 crores in priority areas of information processing, Artificial Intelligence, Unmanned systems among others. Adani Group also announced a plan to set up the largest Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) facility to cater to both defence and civil areas.

Lockheed Martin shared its plans for establishing MRO and Multi Role Fighter Aircraft facilities in the country and integrating local manufacturers into the global supply chain while SAAB India announced that it is planning to commence production of Karl-Gustaf launchers in India by 2024.