India has ordered half a dozen Dornier Do 228 aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 10 March. The Do 228s will be used for route transport, communications and pilot training missions. The aircraft is ideally suited for short-haul operations from semi-prepared/short runways of the northeast and island chains of India. The new aircraft will feature upgraded engines that offer greater fuel efficiency and five-bladed composite propellers. The contract is valued at INR6.67 billion ($81.4 million), and the licensed-built aircraft will be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The Dornier 228 is a twin-turboprop STOL utility aircraft, designed and first manufactured by Dornier GmbH from 1981 until 1998. Two hundred and forty-five were built in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. In 1983, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) bought a production licence and manufactured another 125 aircraft in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. In 2009, RUAG started building a Dornier 228 New Generation in Germany. The fuselage, wings and tail unit are manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Kanpur, India, and transported to Oberpfaffenhofen, where RUAG Aviation carries out aircraft final assembly. In July 2017, 63 aircraft were still in airline service.
The Dornier 228 is a twin-engine general purpose aircraft, capable of transporting up to 19 passengers or various cargoes. It is powered by a pair of Garrett TPE331 turboprop engines. The Dornier 228 is commonly classified as a Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL)-capable aircraft, being capable of operating from rough runways and in hot climates. This capability has been largely attributed to the type’s supercritical wing which generates large amounts of lift at slow speeds. The Dornier 228 is typically promoted for its versatility, low operational costs, and a high level of reliability – possessing a dispatch reliability of 99%.
In late 2017, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued a type certificate to the Hindustan 228. The aircraft was so far being manufactured under licence from RUAG for Indian defence forces and European markets would now be allowed to operate in India for commercial purposes. The HAL Dornier 228 had previously only been used by the Indian Armed Forces but was modified by HAL for commercial operations. Alliance Air deployed the aircraft on a new route connecting Dibrugarh, Assam and Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh on 12 April 2022, becoming the first airline to use an Indian-made aircraft in civil aviation operations.