HAL's All-new HLFT-42 Trainer to Compete with Yak-130, Aermacchi M-346 & KAI-T-50

  • Mohammed Ahmedullah
  • 03:17 PM, February 12, 2023
  • 1156
HAL's All-new HLFT-42 Trainer to Compete with Yak-130, Aermacchi M-346 & KAI-T-50
Hindustan Lead in Fighter Trainer-42 (HLFT-42) Illustration @HAL

Ahead of the Aero India show, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has created quite a buzz with the announcement of its all-new project- the creation of the Hindustan Lead in Fighter Trainer-42 (HLFT-42).
HLFT-42 is the ‘Next Gen Supersonic Trainer’ that will play a “critical role” in modern combat aircraft training with state-of-the-art avionics like Active Electronically Scanned Array, Electronic Warfare Suite, Infrared Search and Track with Fly by Wire control system, HAL said in a February 10 press release .
HAL did not offer any information as to its dimensions, engine, training systems and weaponry. Details of its development timeframe and when it will ready to fly are awaited the time of writing.
The twin-seater HLFT-42 appears aimed at the hugely growing market for fighter-trainers such as the Russian Yak-130, the Italian Aermacchi M-346 Master, and the South Korean KAI-T-50. All of these three aircraft have some 450 + aircraft either sold or on order.

HAL's All-new HLFT-42 Trainer to Compete with Yak-130, Aermacchi M-346 & KAI-T-50
Yak-130 combat-trainer @Irkut Corp

HLFT-42 to directly compete with supersonic T-50

Of these, the Korean T-50 is a supersonic aircraft while the Yak-130 and Aermacchi M-346 are subsonic aircraft. As HAL's announcement says its HLFT-42 will be a supersonic aircraft, it could be directly pitched against the T-50 family.

The Yak-130 has become one of the most successful Russian military aircraft during the past 10 years with some 65 aircraft sold to Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Laos and Myanmar.
The Yak-130's development twin (both aircraft began life as a Russian-Italian joint venture) has been more successful with some 96 Aermacchi M-346 Master aircraft in service with the air forces of Italy, Israel, Singapore, Qatar and Poland. Besides, a total of 49 aircraft have been ordered by Nigeria, Turkmanistan, Azerbaijan and Egypt.

HAL's All-new HLFT-42 Trainer to Compete with Yak-130, Aermacchi M-346 & KAI-T-50
FA-50 @Korean Air Force

T-50 fighter-trainer is South Korea's most exported military aircraft

The South Korean T-50 Golden Eagle family (trainer and fighter jet in various versions)- trainer, fighter and aerobatics. Besides the South Korean air force, the The T-50 trainer or its fighter variant, the FA-50 have been purchased by Indonesia, Iraq, Philippines, Thailand and Poland. Some 140 aircraft are purchased or on order.
The key reason for the sales success of these aircraft is their relatively low price compared to 4+ generation fighter jet such as the F-16 or Gripen and their ability to function both as a trainer or combat aircraft.

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