Our History
Our History
Seth Walchand Hirachand

The history and growth of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is synonymous with the growth of Aeronautical industry in India over the past 70 years.

The Company which had its origin as the Hindustan Aircraft Company was incorporated on 23 Dec 1940 at Bangalore by Shri Walchand Hirachand  a farsighted visionary in association with the Government of Mysore with an Authorised Capital of Rs.4 crores (Paid up capital Rs.40 lakhs) and with the aim of manufacturing aircraft in India. In March 1941, the Government of India became one of the shareholders in the Company holding 1/3 of its paid-up capital and subsequently took over its management in 1942. In collaboration with the Inter Continental Aircraft Company of USA, Hindustan Aircraft Company commenced its business of manufacturing of Harlow Trainer, Curtiss Hawk Fighter and Vultee Bomber Aircraft.

In Dec 1945,the company was placed under the administrative control of Min. of Industry & Supply. In January 1951, Hindustan Aircraft Private Limited was placed under the Administrative control of Ministry of Defence.
The Company had built aircraft and engines of foreign design under licence, such as Prentice, Vampire and Gnat aircraft. 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. Nearly 200 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 the manufacture of   the   MiG-21 aircraft under licence. In June 1964, the Aircraft Manufacturing Depot which was set up in 1960 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 the 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, helicopter, engines and related systems like avionics, instruments and accessories.

Growth & Consolidation:
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 arrangements 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.  This Division is dedicated to space programme to meet the growing requirement of Indian Space Research Organisation.

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. Currently the Division is undertaking Repair and Overhaul work related with Industrial Avon Engines and Allison 501K and 571K series. In addition to this manufacture of LM 2500 engine is also being undertaken. 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 is 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 agreement with Russian partners to take up licence manufacture of SUKHOI 30 MKI Aircraft  the Nasik Division which had been engaged in manufacture & overhaul of MiG series Aircraft and lately upgrade of MiGB is 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 existing 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 have accordingly commenced.
In order to facilitate Helicopter Division to dedicate itself exclusively for ALH manufacture and related activities,the manufacturing and repair / overhaul activities of Chetakand Cheetah helicopters and their variants where transferred to the Barrackpore Branch Factory and Barrackpore Division was formed and a new MRO Division created to carry out ALH Overhaul activities in 2006

Composites material is being used extensively in aircraft manufacturing for its low weight. A new Composite Manufacturing Division 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.

In order to boost R & D activities in-house, Mission & Combat System R & D Center was formed to concentrate on Mission systems, Aircraft upgrades and technology development in Nov 2008.
Additionally, Strategic electronics Factory at Kasaragod, Kerala, a unit of HAL Hyderabad, was established 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 Division was established at Bangalore for production of Light Combat Aircraft in Mar 2014.

R & D center:
The Company has a comprehensive Design organisation in its divisions.  Out of 29 types of aircraft produced so far, 15 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 capability and accordingly the erstwhile Design Bureaus have been restructured and reorganised into the following R&D Centers :

Sl.R & D  CentreActivity
1Aircraft R&D Centre, BangaloreDesign and Development of Fixed Wing aircraft (LCA, IJT, MTA, FGFA, UAV)
2Rotary Wing Aircraft R&D Centre, BangaloreDesign and Development of Rotary Wing aircraft (ALH, LCH, LUH, MLH, NRUAV)
3Mission & Combat Systems R&D Centre, BangaloreMission systems, Aircraft upgrades and technology development
4Aero Engine R&D Centre, BangaloreSmall, Medium Engines & Test Bed design
5Strategic Electronics R&D Centre, HyderabadAvionics Items.
6Transport Aircraft R&D Centre, KanpurDevelopment & Modification/ upgrades of Transport Aircraft
7Aircraft Upgrades R&D Centre, NasikAircraft/  System Upgrade Work on Russian Aircraft
8Aerospace Systems & Equipment R&D Centre, LucknowDevelopment of Mechanical, Hydraulic and Electrical accessories.
9Gas Turbine R&D Centre, KoraputDesign Improvement of Russian Engines
10Central Materials & Processes Laboratory & NDT Centre, BangaloreDevelopment of Materials, Castings, Forgings & New Processes

HAL Today:
HAL is a fully owned Government of India undertaking under the administrative control of Ministry of Defence, Department of Defence Production. The Authorised Capital of HAL is Rs.600 Crore consisting of 60,00,00,000 equity shares having face value of Rs.10 each.  

The current programs under progress at HAL are production of SU-30 MKI, Hawk-AJT, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), DO-228 Aircraft, Dhruv-ALH and Cheetal Helicopters, Repair Overhaul of Jaguar, Kiran MkI/IA/II, Mirage, HS-748, AN-32, MiG 21, Su-30MKI, DO-228 aircraft and ALH, Cheetah / Chetak helicopters.

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 17 types of 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.

HAL is currently meeting the requirements of structures for aerospace launch vehicles and satellites of ISRO through its dedicated Aerospace Division. Infrastructure has also been set up to undertake completed assembly of the strap-on L-40 stage booster. Structures for GSLVMk.III have been productionised. HAL has also contributed to Mars mission by supplying riveted structural assemblies and welded propellant tankages for the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25).

Industrial and Marine Gas Turbine:  The LM-2500 marine gas turbine engine, a 20 MW aero derivative, is being produced and overhauled from the production line in the Industrial and Marine Gas Turbine Division, Bangalore. The Division also undertakes Repair and overhaul of Industrial Avon and Allison engines.  

Development Project:
The major on-going indigenous development programs are the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT), Light Combat Helicopter(LCH), Light Utility Helicopter (LUH), Weapon System integration on ALH, Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA), Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), Basic Turboprop Trainer. Design and Development of medium thrust engine has also been taken up. HAL has achieved self-reliance in the area of design and development of Helicopters and Aircraft. Technology development projects have been launched to increase self-reliance in critical areas like the Aircraft Display systems, Mission Computers, Automatic Flight Controls for helicopters, Aircraft Accessories and avionics.