Pilatus Mulls Tie-up with Domestic Player - The New Indian Express

Pilatus Mulls Tie-up with Domestic Player

Published: 02nd April 2014 10:16 AM

Last Updated: 02nd April 2014 10:16 AM

Upbeat over Indian Air Force issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to buy 106 additional PC-7 MkII basic trainer aircraft, the Swiss original equipment manufacturer Pilatus is readying for a tie-up with a domestic entity in both the public and the private sector to establish production capabilities here.

Pilatus Aircraft’s Deputy CEO Jim Roche told Express in a recent e-mail interview that the company has set “a short-term objective” for itself “to use the opportunity afforded by the successful trainer aircraft deal to establish production capabilities in collaboration with local industry players, such as HAL, BEL and other like companies” in India.

The IAF had in March issued a fresh RFI for the supply of 106 PC-7 MkII basic trainer aircraft, an add-on order to the already contracted 75 aircraft bought in May 2012 for `2,900 crore.

The RFI said the IAF would like to buy some quantity of this fresh order in a fly-away condition, while the rest would have to be produced by an Indian company domestically, either on its own or in tie-up with a foreign aircraft manufacturer.

Noting that his company was still in the delivery phase of the existing deal for the 75 PC-7 MkII planes and its support systems, Roche said till end the of February 2014, the firm had already delivered 28 of the planes, all of which had been successfully inducted by the IAF at its Dindigul Air Force Academy in Andhra Pradesh.

He said the original contract already had a provision for 50 per cent additional aircraft -- numbering 37 planes -- to be procured under the same terms and conditions as the current batch of 75 being delivered by Pilatus.

“This provision is still valid till 2015. Should there be a requirement to supplement that provision, I am quite sure that the government of India will inform us accordingly in good time to avail of the advantageous terms and conditions of the current contract,” he said.

To a specific query, Roche said Pilatus was aware of the Indian Navy previously conducting elements of in-house pilot training with the (indigenous) HPT-32 and about the delivery of 17 new BAE Systems’ Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers.

“Should the Navy decide to re-establish its own basic flying training capability in the future, we are convinced that the PC-7 MkII would provide the Indian Navy with an optimal training platform.” Currently, the Navy is training its pilots in basic flying along with the Air Force.

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