Sep 4, 2014

Indian deal for 20 more Hawks faces more delays

A contract for 20 more BAE Systems Hawk Mk 132 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs) for the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) aerobatics display team, approved three years ago by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), is unlikely to be signed before 2016.
The MoD was "processing" the request for proposals (RfP) for the 20 Hawks. The kits would be sent to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for licence-building sometime over the next 12-16 months.
BAE Systems said commercial discussions with HAL for the aircraft were continuing, but did not elaborate.
HAL, however, said it would be unable to begin work on the 20 Hawks until mid-2016, when it completed delivery of the 36 AJTs it is currently building for the IAF and the Indian Navy (IN).
These are part of a second batch of 57 Hawks acquired by India in July 2011, 40 of which are for the IAF and 17 for the Indian Navy. In 2003 the IAF procured 66 Hawks: 24 were bought off the shelf and the remaining 42 were licence-built by HAL.
Since 2005-06 HAL claims to have built and delivered 63 Hawks.
Before the RfP for the 20 supplementary Hawks is cleared, the MoD needs to clarify its position on Rolls-Royce, whose Adour Mk 861 turbofan engines power the AJT.
The MoD suspended all dealings with Rolls-Royce in early March after the then Congress Party-led government began a federal inquiry against it for employing proscribed agents to secure Indian contracts.
The new BJP government reversed this order in July, permitting Rolls-Royce to continue its participation in numerous ongoing Indian military programmes and service contracts, including the Hawk. However, under an advisory released in late August, all new MoD tenders involving foreign materiel vendors facing such partial bans are to be stayed until investigations into their alleged wrongdoing is completed.
The Hawks will replace the HAL-built Surya Kiran Mk II aircraft that the IAF's Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team (SKAT) operated for 15 years until it was disbanded in February 2011 and its assets diverted to train fighter pilots following a shortage of such platforms.

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