By Aritra Banerjee
Indian state-owned defence and aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will jointly develop a hydrogen-electric plane powertrain with the United Kingdom-based aviation firm ZeroAvia. Both firms will collaborate on developing a supplemental type certificate, allowing current airframes to be retrofitted for military and civil aviation purposes. HAL plans to continue working on a new aircraft called the Hindustan 228 with additional approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Hindustan 228 will allow ZeroAvia, ZA600 zero-emission engines to be used.
Engineers from both companies will incorporate the ZA600 hydrogen-electric motor from ZeroAvia into the Dornier 228 airframe. The UK based aviation company will closely work with its Indian partner, HAL and aircraft authorities to ensure aircraft safety compliance and adhere to operational criteria. There are approximately 270 Dornier aircraft worldwide, of which 242 are in active service. The Dornier 228 production line is operational at HAL in India. The ZA600 hydrogen-electric powertrain from ZeroAvia will be integrated into Dornier 228 airframes by HAL and ZeroAvia engineers.
In 1983 HAL inked a technology transfer arrangement with Dornier and has since manufactured 150 aircraft, including those in service with Indian defence services. A Dornier 228 is being used explicitly as the development platform for the Highflyer 2 project, which is progressing the research and development requirement for the ZA600 powertrain for 19 seat aircraft at ZeroAvia’s facilities at the Cotswold airport in the UK. ZeroAvia recently completed ground testing of its 600-kilowatt powertrain and plans to commence flight testing Dornier 228 in the following months to receive certification and commercial operations in 2024.