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IAF to acquire 181 basic trainer aircraft

HPT-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Indian Air Force has initiated the process to procure 181 basic trainer jets for training its rookie pilots, the Government said Wednesday.

"Request for Proposals have been floated for procuring 75 basic trainer aircraft on multi-vendor basis and 106 aircraft will be built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)," Defence Minister A K Antony said in written reply to Rajya Sabha.

The IAF is procuring these aircraft for replacing the fleet of HPT-32, which were grounded after a fatal air crash on July 31 last year.

"IAF decided to ground its fleet of HPT-32s till certain modifications were carried out by HAL to ensure safety and airworthiness of the aircraft," the Minister added.

HPT-32s, also known as Deepak, were being used for induction-level flying training for young pilots at the Air Force Academy in Dindigul, Andhra Pradesh.

To ensure uninterrupted training requirements of the young pilots, the Minister said "surplus Kiran Mk I/IA trainer aircraft are being used to impart stage I and stage II training to trainee pilots."

Adequate numbers of Kiran Miran MkI/IA aircraft were available in the force, he said.

Meanwhile replying to another query, Antony said the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was likely to be inducted into the IAF by March 2011 in the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration. The proposal for procuring 20 more LCAs in Final Operational Clearance (FOC) was also moving ahead.

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