Bidar (Karnataka), Feb 23: The changed global scenario is forcing India to reorient its defence forces and in the process go for continuous upgradation of man and machine, Defence Minister A K Antony said today.
Speaking after induction of Hawk-132 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs) into the Indian Air Force at Air Station Bidar, on the Northern tip of Karnataka, he said a long cherished dream of the IAF was today fulfilled.
"This will go a long way in training our budding pilots. Hawk-132 will fill the gap in pilot training between Kiran Mark-II jet trainers and highly demanding MIG-21 fighters," he said.
Eight Hawk AJTs were inducted into the IAF today.
Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal F H Major said the induction of Hawk AJTs brought 'empathic satisfaction' to the air warriors. In the new political scenario the demand of the situation was a swift response and aerospace power will play a pivotal role in this respect.
Five pilot offiers were bestowed the honour of flying the Hawk's for the first time after induction. They were Wing Commanders Raman Gupta, Hindwan, Pankaj Jain, Krishnan and Ajay Chaudhury.
On the occasion Officer Training Command Air Vice Marshal Gurnam Singh Chaudhury said the 70 pilots from IAF had been trained at Royal Air Force of UK during the last 18 months.
The IAF had spent Rs 120 crore to upgrade the air station here to accommodate the Hawk squadron. It had built new hanger facilities and sun shades, he said.