AirAsia Pacific

India Taps HAL for Dornier 228 Utility Aircraft Mid-Life Upgrade

The Indian Ministry of Defence has signed a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the mid-life upgrade of 25 Dornier 228 utility aircraft.

State-of-the-art avionics systems and primary role sensors will be fitted onto the planes, with major systems and equipment being sourced in the country as part of the Make in India initiative.

Once upgraded, all Dornier aircraft will have primary roles under the Indian Navy’s maritime and coastal surveillance, electronic intelligence, and maritime domain awareness development missions.

The planes will also be able to fill secondary roles in search and rescue, medical and casualty evacuation, and communication link operations.

The upgrades are expected to cost 2,890 crore Indian rupee ($348 million) and are scheduled to run for six and a half years.

The Dornier 228

Introduced in 1982, the Dornier 228 is a twin-turboprop utility plane used primarily as a maritime surveillance aircraft.

Its design is optimized for cruising flight, employing a high-wing setup for greater stability due to its lower center of mass.

The aircraft is flown by two crew members, and can transport up to 19 passengers with short takeoff and landing capabilities.

Originally developed in Germany in the 1970s, production was handed over to HAL in 1983 through a major license-production and phased technology-transfer agreement.

It has since been operated by more than a dozen military forces, including the German Navy, Italian Army Aviation, and the Royal Thai Navy.

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