Sun, May 13, 2012
Deliveries Expected To Begin In Mid-2013
The Indian Cabinet Committee on Security has approved the purchase of 75 Swiss-built Pilatus PC-7 MK II training airplanes under a $560 million contract. Defense News reports that the deal is part of a larger $5.6 billion package which also includes 106 of the airplanes to be built in India. Other airplanes evaluated included the T-6 Texan, Embraer's Super Tucano, and Korean Aerospace Industries' KT-1.
The Press Trust of India indicated that the approval of the deal had been pending for nearly a year because Korea Aerospace Industries said Pilatus had submitted an incomplete bid which did not include pricing.
India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the purchase of 75 Swiss-built airplanes on Thursday. It is hoped the move will alleviate a chronic shortage of aircraft.
The contract approval comes at a critical time for India's air force; the service has endured an acute shortage of training aircraft since the HPT-32 fleet was grounded in 2009 following multiple accidents and fatalities. India contracted previously with British Aerospace for 57 Hawk advanced jet trainers in a deal worth nearly $1.1 billion.
In January India selected the Dasault Rafale fighter for its 126-aircraft MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) contract in a deal worth $11 billion. India's economic boom has allowed it to become the world's biggest arms importer, and it is modernizing its military by replacing obsolete Soviet-era weapons and aircraft. The IAF has lost over half of its MiG fleet due to accidents caused by human error and technical defects. (Pilatus PC-7 MK II photo from file)
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