Indian order for Hawk trainer edges closer
24 November 2000
The Indian Defence Minister, George Fernandes, has told the Lok Sabha, India's lower house of parliament that India is close to ordering 66 Hawk advanced jet trainers. According to Fernades, negotiations with BAE SYSTEMS, the manufacturer of the aircraft, are close to success.
At present India has no intermediate training aircraft in which pilots can transition from basic training to fast jets in the Indian Air Force. As a consequence the IAF has a very high fatal accident record as inexperienced pilots learn 'on the job'.http://defence-data.com/storypic/hawksnow.jpg [not image]
The Indian Hawk purchase saga has been going on for sixteen years, but has been hampered by on/off diplomatic relations, recessions in the Indian economy and, more recently a concern that if bought, the aircraft would not be subject to sanctions imposed by third parties. Some Hawk technology is US in origin and therefore subject to sanctions imposed in the wake of India's recent nuclear weapons testing.
Of the 66 aircraft, 24 will be built in the UK and the remaining 24 built under licence by HAL. HAL already makes and maintains Jaguar aircraft under a previous licensing agreement with British Aerospace. First deliveries would take place three years after contract signing and India's indigenous production would begin in 2004
Known as the Hawk lead In Fighter (LIF) trainer, similar aircraft have been bought recently by South Africa, Australia and Canada.
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