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DAC to meet on Saturday; Avro replacement and Pilatus on radar

Pilatus PC-7 aircraft. Photo: Indian MoD

NEW DELHI (PTI): A crucial meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council will be held this Saturday during which issues of Avro replacement and procurement of additional Pilatus basic trainer aircraft from Switzerland among others are likely to be taken up.

The meeting will be chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Defence sources said Parrikar has sought a report from the IAF on utilisation of Pilatus PC-7 aircraft before going ahead with the follow-on order of 38 more.

They said the original contract for 75 aircraft had the option clause of buying 50 per cent under same terms and conditions for three years. This option clause runs out in May and hence the IAF wants to exercise it.

The force has so far inducted 59 PC-7 aircraft. IAF had calculated a requirement of 181 basic trainer aircraft (BTA) out of which 90 were supposed to be bought off the shelf and 91 made in India.

However, the UPA government decided to go for a 75 aircraft contract with a 50 per cent follow-on clause.

Though the deal for additional aircraft was expected to be firmed up last year, Parrikar had number of queries on the project.

He sought a status report on the operations of the aircraft like whether they were clocking the minimum flying hours required.

According to available data, the IAF PC-7 MkII BTA fleet has logged more than 27,000 flight hours with over 50,000 landings.

The first course at Air Force Academy Dundigal started in on PC-7 MkII started in July 2013.

Meanwhile, the Airbus-Tata consortium's bid to replace IAF's ageing fleet of 56 Avro aircraft with C-295 transport carriers is also likely to be discussed in the meeting.

The European aviation major had last week said it would be a "shame" if the project is delayed further.


India  DAC  Avro  Pilatus  Radar  Military  

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