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IAF to procure 20 Hawk trainers for aerobatics

An IAF BAE Systems Hawk Mk.132.

NEW DELHI (PTI): The Defence Ministry has cleared a proposal worth over Rs 3,000 crore for procuring 20 more Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) which will use them for its Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team (SKAT).

The decision was made a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister A K Antony on Friday, Ministry sources said here.

India had placed orders for 123 Hawks with the British BAE Systems in two phases. The first order for 66 aircraft was placed by India in 2004, of which more than 40 have already arrived. The second order for 57 aircraft was placed in June last year.

An indication about IAF's intention to procure these aircraft for SKAT was given by Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne at the Air Force Day parade on October 8. "I assure you that in three years, the team will rise again in national colours on the Hawk AJT," he had said.

SKAT, which was formed in 1996 with HJT-16 Kiran trainer planes, is now being used for training of pilots.

The Hawks have been inducted into the IAF to provide intermediate training to young pilots for graduating from the subsonic HJT-16 aircraft to the supersonic MiG-21s.

IAF's experience with the Hawks aircraft has not been smooth as their induction into the force has been hit by shortcomings in supply of kits by the BAE Systems.


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