Hawks grounded after accident, pilots safe

April 30th, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) All 10 Advanced Jet Trainers Hawk delivered by Britain have been grounded after one of them skidded off the runway while taking off in Karnataka, Indian Air Force (IAF) sources said Wednesday. Both its Indian and British pilots are safe. The accident occurred at 12.40 p.m. Tuesday at the Flying Training Establishment at Bidar, IAF spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasini said. “The (plane was on) a training mission. An inquiry has been ordered into the reasons behind the accident.”

IAF sources said that an Indian and a British pilot were in the cockpit. The sources said the prima facie reason appeared to be a technical fault.

The fleet of 10 Hawks, purchased off the shelf from Britain, have been grounded until an inquiry is held, the sources said.

The 10 Hawks were inducted into the IAF Feb 24. Of the 66 AJTs, the IAF had contracted to buy from the British BAE systems at a cost of Rs.80 billion, 24 are being acquired in flyaway condition.

The rest will be manufactured under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). BAE Systems and HAL are scheduled to complete the delivery of all 66 aircraft by 2011.

With IAF suffering a string of accidents as fighter pilots graduated from basic jet trainers to the supersonic MiG-21 and other jets without intermediary training, the need for the Hawks was long felt.

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