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India to gift aircraft to Seychelles

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Dornier aircraft. Photo: Indian Air Force.

KANPUR (PTI): In a boost to its defence ties with Seychelles, India will gift a Dornier aircraft to that country to carry out surveillance against sea-borne terrorism and anti-piracy missions.

Indian Defence Minister A K Antony will present Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's Dornier DO-228 aircraft to Seychelles President James Michel on January 31.

Seychelles and HAL had signed a contract for two aircraft in February last year and promised to deliver the planes by 2014. However, HAL is handing over one of the aircraft a year in advance.

As part of the extensive co-operation between the two countries in the field of defence and security, especially anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean Region, India has provided defence equipment and gifted a naval patrol vessel to that country for better patrolling against Somali pirates.

Earlier too, India has provided Seychelles with equipment such as Dornier aircraft and Chetak helicopters for meeting its defence needs.

General Manager of HAL, Kanpur, D Balasubramaniyam said at a press conference here Thursday that HAL has manufactured 117 Dornier DO-228 aircraft till now and presented it to Regional Air Services, Defence Forces - Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force.

In 2013-14, HAL is planning to make 30 Dornier DO-228 aircraft for Air Force, Navy and DRDO, and 10 aircraft for South Africa, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Philippines, Thailand and Ecuador, he said.

India has also presented two Dornier aircraft to Mauritius.

Balasubramaniyam said HAL will provide digital auto pilot facility and glass cockpit aircraft to Indian Air Force and foreign countries.

He also said that since the government is planning to connect small cities to metros and bigger cities, it has asked HAL to increase manufacturing of Dornier to be used as civil passenger aircraft.

This highly fuel-efficient and low maintenance aircraft can fly for 5.5 hours up to 2,500 km and needs only 750-metre runway for taxiing, he said.

Dornier DO-228 aircraft has two Garrett TPE Engines and fuel efficiency of 2,859 ltr with maximum speed at 428 km per hour.

HAL was given the license by Dornier GmbH of Germany to manufacture Dornier as a light transport aircraft on November 29, 1983.

Two crew members and 15-19 passengers can sit in the aircraft.

The Dornier DO-228 aircraft can be used for Air Taxi, Utility, Corporate, Aircrew Training, apart from Maritime Surveillance, Search & Rescue and for Observation & Communication duties.

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