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CCS to discuss Rs 1850 cr proposal for 75 trainer aircraft

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The PC-21 trainer aircraft. A Pilatus photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will consider a proposal worth over Rs 1,850 crore for procuring 75 Pilatus trainer aircraft from Switzerland in its meeting scheduled on Thursday.

The aircraft are being procured by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to provide training to IAF's rookie pilots and replace the HPT-32 trainer aircraft which have been grounded for over two years after a fatal accident during training in 2009.

The CCS will take up the proposal for procuring 75 Pilatus-7 basic trainer aircraft from Switzerland in its next meeting scheduled on Thursday, top IAF sources said here.

They said the deal was critical for IAF's training requirements as in the next two years, there will be a shortage of Kiran Mk II trainer aircraft, which are being used to impart flying lessons to the rookie cadets.

If the contract is approved by the CCS, the Swiss firm will start supplying the aircraft to India by the middle of 2013, the sources said.

Gaps in the basic flying training of IAF pilots occurred after the grounding of HPT-32 aircraft in 2009 due to a series of engine problems.

Since then the IAF has relied on Kiran Mk II aircraft for providing basic training to its young pilots. Advanced training to them is provided on the Hawk aircraft procured from the UK.

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