Britain seen pushing Advanced Hawk trainer aircraft for Indian Air Force

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on April 12, 2017

British Defence Minister Michel Fallon speaking at a UK-India strategic dialogue event in New Delhi on Wednesday   -  PRAKASH SINGH

British Defence Secretary to meet Jaitley today

The UK government is expected to urge India to purchase the newly unveiled ‘Advanced Hawk’ trainer aircraft.

Apparently, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has expressed reservations on the Advanced Hawk, jointly developed by UK’s BAE Systems and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., because it is looking for a more intermediate jet trainer and not an advanced version, sources told BusinessLine.

Sources also said the IAF has decided not to place an order for the advanced trainers because of alleged bribery charges on Rolls-Royce dating back to 2005. The Advanced Hawk is powered by Rolls-Royce engines.

The ‘Advanced Hawk’ was unveiled at Aero India 2017 in February.

The Navy has also not placed an order for the advanced version of Hawk. So efforts are now on to export it to other countries, sources said.

Besides, the UK is also keen to field the Eurofighter Typhoon for the Indian Navy’s plan to procure 57 new carrier-based fighters. However, the competition is going to be tough with Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin’s F-16 already in the race, sources said.

On Thursday, British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon will meet Defence Minister Arun Jaitley for the India-UK Strategic Dialogue. Fallon, who is here on a four-day visit, said on Wednesday that during his trip he will try to “better understand” the requirements of Indian armed forces.

“I am here at this time not just to pass on our experience but to better understand your requirements, what is it that India really wants,” Fallon said at an an event organised by the Observer Research Foundation.

Export hub

The UK is planning to make India an export hub for its military armaments even as it is keen on boosting bilateral defence ties with increasing sale of equipment.

“I am here not just to see what more we can ‘Make In India’ or make with India, but to see what more we can design, develop, add value with India and export together to third countries and to new markets,” he said.

Both sides will also seek to take forward the Defence and International Security Partnership, which was finalised during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UK in November 2015.

During UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to India last year, both sides had instructed the India-UK Defence Consultative Group to advance the defence cooperation agenda, including the UK’s proposals for capability partnerships, through a range of activities, including military-to-military cooperation, training, exchange of subject matter experts, research and technology linkages as well as defence manufacturing.

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Published on April 12, 2017
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