Companies

BAE Systems ready to sell more trainer aircraft to India

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on February 19, 2016

20 Hawk Mk 132s are currently under negotiation for IAF’s aerobatic display team



Selling additional batches of Hawk Mk 132 training aircraft to India is very much on the cards at BAE Systems, a defence and aerospace company, with work continuing between the UK-based defence major and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), its Indian partner.

The additional batches would be apart from the 20 aircraft, currently under negotiation, meant for the Indian Air Force’s prestigious aerobatic display team, Surya Kiran. The 20-plane order is expected to be worth over $500 million.

The advanced jet trainer (AJT) will also help explore varied international opportunities and address the defence modernisation requirements of the government.

The nine-aircraft aerobatic team, which was grounded in 2011 due to shortage of Kiran Mk II trainer aircraft, is to be recreated with Hawk AJTs. BAE Systems said it has received a Request for Proposal (RFP) from HAL for a potential order to supply products and services for manufacturing 20 Hawks .

The UK Royal Air Force aerobatics team Red Arrows has used Hawk since 1979.

Confirming the RFP, a BAE India official said it would be the third contract placed on BAE Systems. “BAE has given the inputs to the proposal, and has responded to the RFP. It is currently under discussion.”

Hawk AJTs are already in service with the IAF. Stating that the Hawk is a capable advanced jet trainer, the official added that all IAF jet pilots tend to train on the Hawk before going on a full-fledged jet.

Third contract

Discussions are also underway between HAL and the government for the third contract. This would build upon previous orders of 66 aircraft in 2004 (to form the core of stage-three training of rookie pilots before they graduate to supersonic planes such as the MiG-21) and another 57 Hawks in 2010.

“Of the first batch off 66 aircraft, 24 Hawks came in fly-away condition, meaning it was already built in the UK. The balance, 42 were built under licence by HAL in India. The second order was all made in India by HAL. Though BAE is the owner of the platform, HAL is the agency that builds the Hawk,” said the official.

Of the second order of 57 Hawks, 17 are ready and are to be used by the Navy to train naval rookie pilots before they fly naval combat jets. The rest 40 are to go to IAF for its pilot training programme at Bidar, Karnataka.

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Published on February 19, 2016
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