IAF to acquire 57 more Hawk jet trainers: Air Chief F H Major

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Bangalore, Aug 14 (UNI) The additional acquisition of 57 Hawk advanced jet trainers approved by the Defence Approval Council would be built at the city-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's Aircraft division.

Disclosing this after receiving the first HAL built Hawk AJT at a glittering function here, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major said the acquisition would help the air force to put in place an effective training module which had been affected so far due to non availability of suitable AJT.

Speaking at a press conference after the function, he said the first course of training using the Hawks had started in July at the Bidar air force station and 20 cadet pilots were now undergoing training.

"Yes. There had been a slight delay in starting the Hawk training course as we have received only 14 of the 18 fully assembled Hawk AJTs in 'fly away' condition. We expect all the 24 aircraft coming directly from BAE Systems in England by December this year. Then we will have 40 cadets training at a time," he said.

The Air Chief hoped that the much awaited induction of 126 multirole medium range combat aircraft would materialise early. "The technical evaluation is on. Hopefully in two months time we would make some progress on flight evaluation," he said.

The Air Chief felt that the off-set clause on exporters of defence products to India was a huge boost for the Indian Aviation industry. "To absorb this sort of money can be a huge challenge. I hope HAL and others in the aviation industry would cash in on this," he said.

The Air Chief said IAF was in full cooperation in the border state of Jammu and Kashmir which had seen skirmishes between the armies of Pakistan and India. "The incidents have not been major.

The army and air force always work in tandem in Kashmir," he added.

He said India will become a power to reckon with in use of aerospace for defence purpose. "We have a Air Vice Marshall-led team to plan our strategy on space enabled capability. It will be more of placing our eyes and ears in the space," he added.


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