Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is listed by SIPRI as being the world’s 42nd largest arms company in 2021, with military equipment comprising 95% of its total sales, which in 2021 amounted to $3.3 billion.
Its precursor companies designed and built India’s first indigenous military aircraft in 1951. From the late 1970s it manufactured and built both Soviet (MiG) and also Western (Jaguar) combat aircraft under licence. (See company history.)
The company is owned by the Indian Government and the great majority of its sales are to the Indian military. However its customers also include civil security forces, state governments, other arms companies, and the state oil and gas company. According to its 2022-23 annual report, only around 1% of its sales were exports. However, it also has the ambition to become a “significant global player in the aerospace industry”.
One of HAL’s current partnerships is with BAE Systems to produce, in India, the latest version of the Hawk aircraft. Although the Hawk is often referred to as a training aircraft, the HAL Hawk is also marketed as a ground attack aircraft, reported to be capable of carrying 3,000 kg of weaponry. HAL has said there is considerable interest from neighbouring countries in the aircraft.