'First Indian built Hawk to roll out in March'

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Bangalore, Jan 19: Public Sector Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) would roll out the first Hawk advance jet trainer on March one, HAL Chairman Ashok K Baweja said here today.

Speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of the Air Chief Marshal L M Katre memorial lecture delivered by former President APJ Abdul Kalam, he said this would be the first of the 42 Hawks to be manufactured under license to build in India by HAL. The Indian Air Force is acquiring 66 Hawks designed and developed by BAE Systems through the USD 1.75 billion contract, signed in March 2004.

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

Mr Baweja said HAL would roll out 14 more such machines by the end of 2009.

Mr Baweja said HAL, which had an order book worth Rs 50,000 crore at present was focussed on a number of projects. This included the updating avionics of Sukhoi multirole jet fighter. He said the public sector aviation major was working on the capacity building and was working on building the Russian AN 32 in India. The multirole Transport aircraft, in the 60 tonne class capable of carrying ten tones 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 job to build this aircraft in India. We can build the 15-seater passenger aircraft, as suggested by Mr Kalam today, as a off shoot of AN 32 with necessary modifications. But this will for the future as we are already on a number of projects," he said.

He said the weaponisation programme of the indigenously build Advance Light Helicopter 'Dhruv' was in the final stages and the field trials were already on.

UNI

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