Defence Ministry to Go for More Pilatus Trainer Planes
In a two-day bid to boost training of rookie pilots and promote indigenous aircraft production capability, the Defence Ministry has recently issued a request for information from Indian defence firms for buying and making the Swiss Pilatus PC-7 Mk2 basic trainer planes within the country.
The request for information or RFI in defence parlance was issued last Friday to procure 106 of the Swiss aircraft under the Defence Procurement Procedure-2013 under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ category.
This would be apart from the Defence Ministry allowing the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to design and develop an indigenous basic trainer aircraft, codenamed HTT-40, through its own sources.
The Defence Ministry already has an under-execution contract for 75 Pilatus trainers from the Swiss firm signed in May 2012.
This deal was to make up for the immediate requirement of basic trainer aircraft of the Indian Air Force, which had projected a need for a total of 181 planes to carry out Stage-I of the flying training of its rookie pilots.
The additional 106 Pilatus planes and associate equipment for which the RFI – ahead of the issue of a Request for Proposals (RFP) as the defence tender is called – has now been issued would be in the same configuration, specification and scale of the already contracted Pilatus PC-7 Mk2 planes, the Defence Ministry said in the The request for information document.
The Ministry has desired that suitable Indian vendors, including an Indian company forming joint venture or establishing production arrangement with the aircraft original equipment manufacturer, present proposals to supply certain number of PC-7 Mk II aircraft in flyaway condition along with requisite associated equipment as the ‘Buy’ portion followed by licensed production and indigenous manufacture in India under the ‘Make’ portion.
The Defence Ministry also said PC-7 Mk2 and associated equipment are required to be inducted urgently into the Indian Air Force.
Hence, the proposal must be made keeping this factor in mind and ensuring that the induction of aircraft and equipment can commence by 2015-16 and be completed by 2020-21.