Swiss aircraft maker Pilatus is planning to set up a manufacturing facility in India. The firm, which is supplying 75 basic training aircraft PC-7 to the Indian Air Force, intends to set up a facility that will initially manufacture airframes for its single-engine turboprop PC-12 aircraft.

“This will be our third support facility for PC-12 aircraft, the other two being in Portugal and Poland. It will be part of our offset commitment in India,” Jim Roche, Vice-President of the company, told newspersons on the sidelines of a function to mark the induction of the first set of PC-7 aircraft into the Indian Air Force.

The Union Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh inducted the training aircraft at the IAF Academy, Dundigal on the outskirts of Hyderabad, in the presence of N.A.K. Browne, Chief of Air Staff.

Roche said the airframes that will be manufactured in India would be shipped to Switzerland for final assembly of the aircraft. He however was not willing to give a time-frame or possible location for the proposed Indian facility.

Pilatus has so far sold 1,200 PC-12 aircraft worldwide and 12 in India. It is a nine-seater that is effective for surveillance, evacuation and disaster management operations. It is currently developing the PC-24, claimed to be the first ever business jet for use on short unmade runways. “We are looking for its roll-out by early 2017,” he said.

Trainer aircraft

The Chief of Air Staff said India expected to receive all the 75 PC-7 trainer aircraft by August 2015. “We signed the agreement in May last and have already received 12 aircraft. By end of this year we will have 30. The total agreement is for Rs 3,500 crore,” he said.

As part of the agreement, Pilatus will be setting up a training facility with simulators and maintenance unit for these aircraft in Hyderabad.

On modernisation, Browne said India was likely to complete negotiations for the flight refuelling aircraft Airbus 330 MRTT (multi-role tanker transport) this year.

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