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India negotiating with UK to buy 57 more Hawk AJTs

The Hawk AJT in Indian Air Force. A BAE Systems photo

FARNBOROUGH (PTI): India is in the process of finalising with the UK the terms of reference for buying an additional 57 Hawk advanced trainer for the Indian Air Force, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallamraju has said.

“The government has decided to exercise the option of buying an additional 57 Hawk trainer jets manufactured by the British Aerospace. Details of the contract and the terms of reference of the deal are being negotiated with the UK,” Pallamraju, who is leading Indian delegation to the Farnborough Air Show, the biggest in the world, told PTI.

India, which had earlier signed a deal to buy the two-seater Hawk trainer planes, has already received 24 of the single-engine aircraft in fly-away condition. Of the other 42 of the planes, which were to be produced by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, six have been supplied to the IAF.

The Hawk, which can also be used as a combat aircraft, provides advance stage three training to IAF pilots. It can fly at a maximum speed of 1.2 times the speed of sound.

The minister, who is on a six-day visit to the UK, refused to give a timeframe for finalising the terms of reference of the multi-billion dollar deal.

The Hawk is used by Britain’s Royal Air Force and 900 of them have supplied to 18 countries so far.

Pallamraju, who has been interacting with top armament manufacturers here, said he told the UK firm that they stand a better chance of bagging orders from India if they agree to make the country self-reliant in weapon systems.

The minister, who arrived in London on Saturday, had met top brass of Russian weapons manufacturers, British Aerospace, EADS, Saab, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. He also held a meeting with Prince Andrew, who is Britain's Ambassador for Industry.

He also had meetings with Israeli arms producers.

Many of the firms Pallamraju interacted with are bidding for the 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) India is proposing to buy.

Pallamraju said he conveyed to international arms producers that India has initiated the “buy and make” policy under which any Indian company entering into a contract with a foreign firm has to manufacture 50 per cent of its systems in the country in terms of value to allow job creation. The rest 50 per cent can be imported, he said.

“The modes of acquisition have been several. One is to buy directly from a foreign company, another is to purchase and ensure transfer of technology while yet another is to buy and make in India.

“We have given a message to the defence public sector undertakings to get the latest technology under the buy and make policy without involving outright purchases,” the Minister said.

The make and buy policy also involves availability of spares for weapon systems in times of emergency and ensures that India becomes self-reliant, he said, adding that the effort is to ensure that the best available technology comes in.

“I have had an opportunity in Farnborough to see the technology offers by armament manufacturers. I have also had occasions to discuss a number of issues which had been outstanding,” Pallamraju said.


IAF  Hawk  

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