HAL rejects IAF proposal to produce Pilatus trainer aircraft

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has rejected a proposal of Air Force to produce Pilatus aircraft in its facilities against the backdrop of a tussle between the two on whether to procure an imported trainer aircraft or develop it indigenously. IAF has already placed an order for 75 Pilatus trainer aircraft and is planning to procure 106 more of them after the completion of the delivery of first lot by the end of 2017. HAL, however, is in favour of developing the aircraft indigenously. IAF had proposed that HAL should licence produce the Pilatus aircraft in its facility but this was rejected by the aerospace giant saying it was working on a project of its own on the issue, senior IAF officials said here. HAL is working towards producing HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft which is expected to fly by 2015. IAF and HAL have been debating on the issue for over a year now but it came to fore recently when IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne wrote to Defence Minister Mr A K Antony, asking the government to procure the Pilatus instead of the one proposed by the HAL. The IAF chief has also told the government that cost of the HTT-40 aircraft being developed by the HAL would be higher than that of the Pilatus aircraft. IAF has also told government that the indigenous aircraft would be 25 per cent more expensive than the imported Pilatus. According to HAL, the aircraft proposed by it would be much more advanced than the Pilatus as it will have weapon firing capabilities also along with other advancements.

Source: http://newindianexpress.com

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