Official Product Photos ©Copyright (in sequence) Aero Vodochody a.s. /Alenia Aermacchi / RAC-MiG / Lockheed-Martin / Yak Aircraft Corporation / BAE Systems
India’s Next Advanced Trainer Competition
In April this year, the Indian Ministry of Defence put out requests for information (RFI) for advanced jet trainers to meet a requirement of 57 new lead-in trainer aircraft, of which the Indian Air Force needs 40 and the Indian Navy, 17. The RFIs were sent out after the Indian government, to the great agitation of BAE Systems, chose not to use the option of purchasing 40+17 additional Hawk-132s from BAE as part of the 2004 deal for 66 Hawks AJTs, currently being built under license by HAL. A small saving grace for BAE is the fact that they received an RFI too, for the Hawk-128, the trainer programme’s latest build variant. Firms like RAC-MiG and Aero Vodochody, which were part of the unprecedented two-decade long advanced jet trainer competition that ended in BAE winning in 2004, are back in the fray, and will be hoping to capitalise big time on the tentative bad-blood that has been allowed to ferment between HAL and BAE Systems. The government is budgeting $1-billion for the next line of trainers. The six airplanes pictured above will compete once the formal tender is out. And that, of course, is contingent on whether BAE manages or fails to convince the government to change its mind and stick to the Hawk-132.
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