Apr 23, 2014
India Wants Domestic Production of Pilatus Trainers
But domestic defense firms find the proposal uneconomical, and state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is pushing its own homegrown basic trainer, though the Indian Air Force has already rejected it.
The request for information, described by the defense industry as the first of its kind, asks selected domestic companies if they would participate in the proposed program to build 106 Pilatus PC-7 Mark-II trainers under license in the “Buy and Make (Indian)” category, which restricts contracts to domestic defense companies and requires that at least half of the components and subsystems come from domestic sources.
Domestic companies, in turn, find the “Buy and Make (Indian )” program for Pilatus uneconomical because of the limited order. A chosen domestic company and the Swiss original equipment manufacturer would produce the trainer. However, no domestic partner has so far confirmed talking to Pilatus on the program.
HAL is also developing a homegrown trainer and is trying to block the proposed Pilatus program.
A HAL official said the basic trainer it is developing, the HTT-40, would be more advanced than the PC-7 as it will have weapon-firing capabilities and other advancements. The HTT-40 is expected to fly by 2015.
Last year, the Air Force proposed that HAL license-produce the Pilatus aircraft but HAL rejected the proposal, saying it was working on its own project.