Thursday, July 22, 2010

Indian Air Force May Order Additional 57 Hawk Advanced Trainer

India is in the process of finalising with the UK the terms of reference for buying an additional 57 Hawk advanced trainer for the Indian Air Force, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallamraju has said.

"The government has decided to exercise the option of buying an additional 57 Hawk trainer jets manufactured by the British Aerospace. Details of the contract and the terms of reference of the deal are being negotiated with the UK," Pallamraju, who is leading Indian delegation to the Farnborough Air Show, the biggest in the world, told PTI.

India, which had earlier signed a deal for purchase of the two-seater Hawk trainer planes, has already received 24 of the single-engine aircraft in a fly-away condition. Of the another 42 of the planes, which were to be produced by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, six have been supplied to the IAF.

The Hawk, which can also be used as a combat aircraft, provides advance stage three training to IAF pilots. The Minister, who is on a six-day visit to the UK, refused to give a time-frame for finalising the terms of reference of the multi-billion dollar deal.

The Hawk is used by the Royal Air Force and 900 of them have supplied to 18 countries so far. Pallamraju, who has been interacting with top armament manufacturers here, said he told them that they stand a better chance of bagging orders from India if they agree to make the country self-reliant in weapon systems.

The Minister, who arrived in London on Saturday, had met top brass of Russian weapons manufacturers, British Aerospace, EADS, Saab, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. He has also had a meeting with Prince Andrew, who is Britain's Ambassador for Industry. - PTI

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