First Indian-built 'Hawk' from HAL in March: Baweja

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Bangalore, Jan 19 (UNI) The Public Sector Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will roll out the first 'Hawk' advance jet trainer on March 1, HAL Chairman Ashok K Baweja said here today.

Speaking to newspersons here he said this would be the first of the 42 Hawks to be manufactured under licence to build in India by the HAL.

Indian Air Force would acquire 66 Hawks designed and developed by BAE Systems through the USD 1.75 billion contract, signed in March 2004.

The first two Hawks flew into India from BAE's facilities in Brough, East Yorkshire in November last to reach the Air Force Station at Bidar in Karnataka. Ten more were likely to be inducted by mid February.

Mr Baweja said HAL would roll out 14 more such machines by the end of 2009. The HAL, which had an order book worth Rs 50,000 crore now, was focussed on a number of projects, including the updating avionics of 'Sukhoi' multirole jet fighter.

He said the public sector aviation major was working on capacity building and building the Russian AN-32 in India. The multi role Transport aircraft, in the 60 tonne class, capable of carrying ten tonnes of payload, would be manufactured under a joint venture between India and Russia.

''The JV is likely to materialise this year. We are already on the job to build this aircraft in the country. We can build the 15-seater passenger aircraft, as suggested by Mr Kalam today, as an off shoot of AN-32 with necessary modifications. But, this will be for the future, as we are already on a number of projects,'' he said.

The weaponisation programme of the indigenously built Advance Light Helicopter 'Dhruv' was in the final stages and the field trials were already on, he added.

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