Monday, December 13, 2010

Indian Air Force completes trails of basic trainer aircraft

the Pilatus PC-7 MkII
Hawker Beechcraft T-6C

Korean Aerospace Industries KT-1
EADS PZL-130 Orlik TC-II from Poland
Grob 120TP from Germany
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has completed trails of five aircraft shortlisted for the basic trainer contract and the evaluation report is expected to be submitted to the MoD by the end of December or early January. The five aircraft which participated in the trials are the American Hawker Beechcraft T-6C, the Pilatus PC-7 MkII, the Korean Aerospace Industries KT-1, EADS PZL-130 Orlik TC-II from Poland and Grob 120TP from Germany.
The trails were conducted at the Jamnagar Air Base in Gujarat and included flights by the IAF instructor-pilots for a period of five days each till the end of October. The acquisition of the basic trainer aircraft is an urgent procurement to make up the grounding of the HPT-32 Deepak basic trainers manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). A total of 75 aircraft are to be procured from abroad.
The trainer aircraft procurement process started only during the first quarter of this year and bids were submitted by seven aircraft manufacturers in response to an RFI. The final five which participated in the trails were downselected and an RFP issued to them. The IAF expects to start receiving the aircraft within six months of the award of contract.
The IAF is under pressure to speed up the acquisition process as its basic training has been undermined ever since the HPT-32 trainers were grounded in July 2009 after 17 crashes. Indian media has reported that an entire batch of Indian Air Force trainee pilots graduated without the basic 24-week training on ad-initio propeller trainers.
The pilots are being trained on the newly procured BAE Systems Hawks but this too had suffered due to a delay in delivery of parts by BAE Systems. However, the issue was resolved at the time of the follow-on contract for an additional 57 Hawk jet trainers signed earlier this year.
The contract hopefuls are expected to be present at Aero India 2011

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