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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Aerospace Companies: HAL

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Logo.svgHindustan Aeronautics Limited is a state-owned defence and aerospace company managed by the Indian Ministry of Defence. It is based out of Bangalore and has several centres across India. It is one of the largest aerospace companies in Asia, and has a number of airports in various parts of the country, including Nasik, Lucknow, Kanpur, Bangalore and Hyderabad, among others. HAL has collaborated with many multinational aerospace companies, including Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Sukhoi Aviation Corporation, RSK MiG, BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation, among many more. (Above): The logo of HAL

HAL was initially launched as Hindustan Aircraft in Bangalore in 1940. This was a time when few large kingdoms such as Gwalior and Mysore were still active, and the Maharaja of Mysore actively funded the corporation by investing 25 lakhs and 700 acres of land for the first factory. (Left): The Saras, a passenger plane being developed by HAL and the National Aerospace Laboratories.

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The factory was organized and equipped by William D Pawley from the Intercontinental Aircraft Corporation in New York. He managed to secure a lot of tools and machines from the USA. A one-third stake in the company was bought by the Indian Government, mainly to increase British military hardware to counter the threat of Imperial Japan in World War II. The first plane built there was a Harlow PC-5. (Right): A Harlow PC-5, the first plane built by HAL.

On 2nd April 1942, the government bought out the stakes of all the promoters to get free rein over the entire company. The kingdom of Mysore refused to yield its stakes, but gave management over to the government. The nest year itself, they gave the factory to the US Army Air Force, although retaining management. The US quickly expanded the factory into one of the largest repair and overhaul centres in the East, and called it the 84th Air Depot. The first plane to be overhauled was a PBY Catalina, followed by almost all aircraft used by India and Burma. The factory was returned to the government in two years, and after independence in 1947, it was taken over the new Government of India. (Above right): The HAL Tejas.

Officially, HAL was formed in 1964, although its foundation had been around for over 20 years. From then on, the company's operations increased, with multi-million dollar contracts from major companies to manufacture spare parts, engines, etc. The HAL Tejas and HAL Dhruv were two of the many aircraft developed and manufactured at HAL. A advanced Mig-21 called the MiG-21 Bison was also developed. (Left): The HAL Dhruv.


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