Economy

IAF to spend Rs 2,900 cr for buying Swiss aircraft

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on June 30, 2012 Published on June 30, 2012

Air Chief Marshal, N.A.K. Browne (right), during the graduation parade at IAF Academy in Dundigal near Hyderabad on Saturday. — G. Ramakrishna

To replace Kiran trainer aircraft

The Indian Air Force will spend over Rs 2,900 crore for acquiring 75 trainer aircraft from the Swiss manufacturer, Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. The move is to replace the ageing Kiran aircraft.

Stating this, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne said the deal, finalised two months ago, involves purchase of 75 Pilatus PC-7 aircraft. It will help in imparting better training to the IAF cadets, he told newspersons at the Dundigal Air Force Station today.

The first batch of PC-7 aircraft is expected to be inducted in January 2013. Following this, every month two aircraft would be added to ensure continued training for flight cadets.

The deal also includes facilitating an integrated ground-based training system and logistics support. A team of 75 pilots and technicians will be going to Switzerland in October for training.

The Air Chief Marshal earlier addressed the combined graduation parade. About 216 officers, including 46 women, were commissioned. A traditional flypast was performed by Kiran, Dornier, AN-32 and Hawk aircraft.

Asked about the multi-billion dollar combat aircraft deal, Air Marshal Browne said “It’s a big project. Discussions are on and the final contract is expected to be signed by the end of the year.”

The French Dassault Aviation’s Rafale combat aircraft has been shortlisted for discussion for the project which involves the purchase of 126 MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) for the IAF.

The IAF wants to acquire 18 MMRCA once the contract is signed, expectedly by end of 2012, the rest of the aircraft would be manufactured over a period with the involvement of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, he said.

Referring to the Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas, he said the indigenous aircraft has been tested with weapon systems recently in the desert theatre. “We are hoping to get clearance for operation by the year-end,” he added.

soma@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 30, 2012
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