India & UK deepens ties on defence co-operation

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India and UK
New Delhi, Jul 28: British defence group BAE Systems agreed to supply 57 Hawk jet trainers to India's air force and navy, said Indian defence ministry officials on Wednesday, Jul 28.

This is a contract that worth $775 million.

This deal is also to enhance British defence firms by getting into partnership with Indian huge defence market which are mostly under the control of Russian, US and Isreali companies.

New Delhi has plan to spend $100 billion over the next decade to overtake its Soviet-era defence system. While BAE will supply 40 trainer jets to the air force and remainders to the navy.

The contract between BAE Systems and state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will be signed on Wednesday, Jul 28 in southern city of Bangalore, where British Prime Minister David Cameron is currently visiting, the official said in New Delhi.

"The deal is a sign of closer defence ties between the two countries," a defence ministry official said.

Cameron, first visit to India since his take off administration in May, is accompanied by other six ministers and more than 30 senior executives from top UK firms, to show that Britain is supportive in boosting economic exchanges with the Asian giant.

57 Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs) is a deal after India bought 24 such jet trainers from BAE Systems in 2008.

India says it needs at least 180 training jets over the next few years.

India's air force officials said the advanced jet trainers, fitted with engines made by Rolls-Royce Group Plc, will help Indian pilots to fly new fighter jets.

New Delhi has began field trials since last Aug in order to buy 126 fighter jets in a $11-billion deal to improve the airforce. Lockheed Martin's F-16 is competing with Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, France's Dassault Rafale, Russia's MiG-35, Sweden's Saab JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, produced by a consortium, for securing the deal.

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