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IAF awards contract to Pilatus for 75 basic trainer jets

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The PC-7 MkII basic flight training turboprop aircraft. A Pilatus photo

STANS, SWITZERLAND (BNS): India has awarded a contract worth over 500 million Swiss Francs (Rs. 2,800 crore) to Switzerland's Pilatus Aircraft to acquire 75 PC-7 MkII turboprop aircraft to train the Indian Air Force's newly-recruited pilots.

The contract, signed with the Swiss company on Thursday, also includes an integrated ground based training system and a comprehensive logistics support package.

"Pilatus Aircraft Ltd is proud to announce that the Indian Air Force has entered today into a contract in excess of 500 Million Swiss Francs to procure a fleet of 75 PC-7 MkII turboprop aircraft, together with an integrated ground based training system and a comprehensive logistics support package.

"The contract also contains an option clause for extending the scope of this contract within three years from initial signature and we are optimistic that this will indeed be executed," the company said.

The new fleet of Pilatus jets, which will replace the IAF's HPT-32 basic trainer aircraft that have long been grounded following a fatal air crash in 2009, will be used to train rookie pilots in the air force.

The Indian Government had earlier this month cleared the long-pending proposal to procure the new basic trainer jets from Switzerland.

"The decision to select the PC-7 MkII training system was made after a thorough evaluation by the Indian Air Force, which looked at all available options," the Stans-based Pilatus said.

Delivery of the aircraft and the complete training system is scheduled to commence in fourth quarter of 2012, the company said.

The contract also makes provision for transfer of technology to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which will maintain the trainer jets fleet for over 30 years.

The Swiss company has also entered into an off-set deal worth 30 per cent of the original contract as stipulated by India's Defence Procurement Policy. As per the offset clause, foreign vendors bagging deals worth over Rs 300 crore are supposed to invest back 30 per cent of the worth of the contract in Indian defence industry.

"Pilatus has also entered into a separate off-set contract with the Government of India for 30% of the value of this contract and we view this as a major opportunity," the company said.

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IAF  Pilatus  Trainer Jet  
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