(NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI - March 18, 2009: Upset over problems relating to spares supply for British Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs), India has shelved plans to place follow-on orders for the aircraft and instead floated new tenders to supplement its trainer fleet.The Hawk Mk. 132 is the latest export variant of the Hawk and was previously known as the Mk.115Y. The Mk.132 formally entered service with the Indian Air Force (IAF) on 23 February 2008 after one of the most protracted procurement processes in India's history, with two decades having elapsed between the initial interest and the contract signing on 26 March 2004. The IAF will receive 24 aircraft directly from BAE Systems, with deliveries beginning in November 2007, and the remaining 42 to be assembled by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited between 2008 and 2011. HAL handed over the first locally-built Hawk 132 to the IAF on 14 August 2008. These aircraft will be powered by Rolls Royce Mk 871 turbo fan engine. In February 2008, India was planning to order 57 more Hawks, with 40 going to the Indian Air Force and the remaining 17 to the Indian Navy, however it looks like this has been shelved. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is reportedly unhappy with the spares supply situation and has issued new Request for Proposals (RFP) for a trainer craft.
Indian Air Force (IAF) sources said here on Tuesday that the new tenders -- Request for Proposals (RFP) in defence parlance -- were issued about a month ago to six global aircraft manufacturers.
Surprisingly, UK-based Hawks manufacturer BAE Systems finds a place among the six companies which had received the fresh tenders. But it was being approached for an upgraded version of the AJTs, sources said.
Others trainers that the IAF has shown interest in and sent the tender papers to were Italy’s Alenia for the M-346, Korean T-50s, the Chez L-159, Russian YAK-130 and MiG AT Trainer, sources said.
After a procurement process that lasted nearly 20 years, India finally entered a contract for the delivery of 66 Hawks trainers with BAE in 2004. The contract had an in-built provision for a follow-on order for 40 more aircraft.
But the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had been finding it difficult to maintain the production lines for the aircraft at its facility due to considerable delays in spares supplies, sources said.
The move of the IAF to go in for a new brand of trainer aircraft came as a surprise, as it had originally planned to have a single type of trainers in the fleet to train future fighter pilots.