New Delhi’s investigation into alleged corruption charges against Rolls Royce in the supply of engines to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for use on the Hawk aircraft could impact the Indian Air Force and Navy’s pilot training program.
The Indian Navy has yet to take delivery of approximately 17 aircraft from BAE Systems with the remaining 40 allotted to the IAF as part of a $780 million contract signed in 2010 for 57 aircraft.
India is the largest operator of the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer with 123 aircraft ordered to date, of which over 70 have been delivered to the Indian Air Force. The first contract signed in 2003 with BAE Systems for 66 Hawk trainers were then worth approximately $1.2 billion.
Since 2004, the IAF has taken delivery of 24 aircraft directly from BAE Systems while 42 were licensed-produced by HAL. And under the terms of the 2010 contract, HAL will build all 57 aircraft in India under licence from BAE for both the Navy and Air Force.
In November 2013, the Indian Navy took delivery of its first indigenously produced Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers powered by a single Rolls Royce Adour Mk.871 engine with the remaining 16 naval variants expected to be completed over the next three years, according to HAL.
Between 2007 and 2011, HAL and Rolls- Royce signed contracts worth an estimated $1.6 billion for the purchase of Adour MK871 engines.
Meanwhile, India has put on-hold a contract with Rolls-Royce for repair and overhaul of aero engines for 2014-15 with the country’s top investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation, began its inquiry.
“We await clarification from the authorities in India. We have made clear that we will cooperate with the regulators and have been explicit that we will not tolerate misconduct of any sort,” a Rolls-Royce spokesman said on Tuesday.
Rolls-Royce engines are used in at least six IAF aircraft including Jaguar strike fighters, Avros, Hawk AJTs, Kirans, Embraer Legacy for VVIPs and C- 130 J Super Hercules.