March 04, 2010

India to procure 75 basic trainer planes for rookie IAF pilots

Huma Siddiqui
Posted: Thursday, Mar 04, 2010 at 0024 hrs IST
Updated: Thursday, Mar 04, 2010 at 0024 hrs IST

New Delhi: India’s Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) with South Korea is likely to pave the way for the first deal to have Korean basic trainer aircraft to train new IAF pilots. Talking to FE, Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd executive vice-president & general manager (marketing division) Enes Park said, “The Indian Air Force (IAF) needs basic trainers. The request for proposal (RFP) is already out and we are offering KT-1, the very basic trainer.”

“We understand that the Indian market is big and realise that there is an opportunity for us to enter the Indian defence sector by offering our trainers that are not only cost effective but also suitable for training new pilots,” Park explained.

As per an MoD official, “RFPs have been floated for procuring 75 basic trainer aircraft on multi-vendor basis and 106 aircraft will be built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)” The manufacturers to whom RFPs have been sent include global names like Embraer’s Tucano, Pilatus (PC-7 or PC-/9), Raytheon (T-6 Texan), Finmeccanica (M-311), Grob Aircraft Company (G-120TP), EADS PZL (PZL-130-TC-11 Orik) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KT-1).

According to the Korean company executive, once the proposals are received, the IAF will technically evaluate the two aircraft brought in for evaluation.

The IAF is procuring these aircraft for replacing the fleet of HPT-32, which were grounded after a fatal air crash on July 31 last year.

“As per the RFP, the manufacturer will have to deliver the first 12 aircraft within 24 months of the contract. The remaining trainers will follow in batches. Our production lines are working and if there is a clause of transferring technology, we are willing to do that too,” Park added.

With the IAF looking to keep the chosen trainer in its inventory for at least 30 years, the RFP specifies that the aircraft should have been recently certified. The 75 aircraft are part of the government’s go-ahead to the IAF for the acquisition of 181 basic trainers.

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