IAF shortlists Swiss aircraft for training rookie pilotsJune 16th, 2011 - 12:14 am ICT by IANS
Bangalore, June 15 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) has short-listed the Swiss-made Philatus PC-7 aircraft to buy for training its rookie pilots, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal P.V. Naik said Wednesday.
“Of the three short-listed firms from the US, Korea and Switzeraland, the bid made by Philatus has emerged as the lowest one. We have started price negotiations with the Swiss vendor for supplying 75 aircraft to train new pilots,” Naik told reporters on the margins of an air force commanders’ conference.
The other contenders were the American Hawker Beechcraft T-6C Texas-II and the Korean Aerospace’s KT-1.
As the turboprop low-wing tandem-seat aircraft, Pilatus is capable of all basic training functions, including aerobatics, instrument, tactical and night flying.
The Swiss vendor has sold about 500 aircraft during the past three decades to about 20 air forces worldwide.
Admitting that the air force needed to improve its training facilities with more simulators and best-equipped aircraft, Naik said if the Philatus deal was signed, the IAF would send some of its young pilots initially to Switzerland for training and start the same exercise at its air bases in the country when the aircraft are delivered over the next two years.
“As we need a better trainer aircraft, we hope to induct the PC-7 into our fleet in the next two years for training the new pilots,” Naik pointed out.
With the grounding of the indigenous HPT-32 Deepak trainers of the state-run defence behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) in 2009, the air force has been facing shortage of basic trainer aircraft for flying by its rookie pilots.
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Tags: air bases, air force commanders, air forces, air marshal, air staff, behemoth, commanders conference, hawker beechcraft, hpt, indian air force, naik, pilatus, price negotiations, seat aircraft, swiss aircraft, swiss vendor, three decades, trainer aircraft, turboprop, us korea